Pop-up and Toy Books

IckyPop-up and Toy Books – reviewed by Penny Peck

Lodge, Jo. Icky Sticky Monster. Nosy Crow, 2012. $12.99,  ISBN 978-0-7636-6173-1.

The blue monster of the title plays in the toilet, picks his nose, and eats garbage in this hilarious story. Preschoolers actually learn good hygiene, such as using a tissue, but the rhyming story is more fun than purposeful.  The pop-ups are dynamic – monster leaps off the page – and the illustrations are done in deeply saturated color cartoon artwork. The pop-ups are fairly elaborate so this is unlikely to hold up to circulation, but would make a nice book to use in storytime.

Horacek, Petr. One Spotted Giraffe. Candlewick, 2012. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6157-1.

In this counting book, there is a flap on the right side of each spread that opens to show a pop-up of the number, done in the form of the animal.  For example, we see “One spotted giraffe,” then open the flap to see the numeral One shown as the neck and head of the giraffe.  Unfortunately, the preschoolers who saw this counted two giraffes, not one, so it was confusing.  The idea is a good one, and the artwork is realistic, but having the numeral look like the animal made it inaccurate as a counting book.

the-nutcrackerMcCaughrean, Geraldine. The Nutcracker: A Magic Theater Book.  Illus. by Kristina Swarner. Chronicle Books, 2012. $19.99. ISBN 978-1-4521-0669-4.

In this graceful retelling of the popular holiday ballet story, every other page has a hole in the middle that features a smaller element that moves.  Not really a pop-up, the moving element (a nutcracker, two dancers), slide in or out of the hole when the page is turned.  This makes it look like the figure is coming on stage, or going off stage, which is very fitting as this is a ballet story.  The soft-focused full color paintings are not overly detailed but set the scene of the story quite well.  The narrative is equally graceful, working as a nice introduction for children before they attend the ballet.  Many libraries will find this in demand – catalog it in J792, not in picture books.

Davies, Nicola. “Flip the Flap & Find Out” series.  Illus. by Marc Boutavant. Candlewick, 2012. $9.99 each.

Who Lives Here? ISBN 978-0-7636-6263-9.

What Happens Next? ISBN 978-0-7636-6264-6.

This hardback series has very sturdy flaps (similar to Eric Hill’s “Spot” books), that will hold up to library circulation and please preschool animal fans.  In each book, an animal is depicted in deeply saturated colors with a sentence or two of text. Then, the reader is invited to open the flap or turn the half-page and guess where the animal lives, or what the animal is doing next (as indicted in the title). The book on habitats is fairly easy to guess once the child sees the pattern and the science element is clear and age-appropriate. What Happens Next? is not as easy to guess but gives clear information on the animals depicted.  The large-eyed animal characters are cute but relatively realistic-looking, and both books would be great for storytime and invite interaction.

Ahlberg, Allan. The Goldilocks Variations. Illus. by Jessica Ahlberg. Candlewick, 2012. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6268-4.

     Father-daughter team Ahlberg begins with a fairly traditional telling of the Three Bears story, then follows with six humorous take-offs.  From visiting 33 bears in their apartment building, to going on a space ship, to meeting Red Riding Hood and the Three Pigs, this offers a fun twist on Goldilocks’ usual adventures. There are small pull-tabs, and one small booklet imbedded into the main book, in this delicate toy book best-suited to a home library and one-on-one sharing. Jessica Ahlberg’s small, detailed watercolor and ink illustrations resemble the work done by her father, for the books written by her late mother Janet in The Jolly Postman (1986) and Each Peach Pear Plum (1978).

Ganeri, Anita. My Pop-up World Atlas. Illus. by Stephen Waterhouse. Templar/Candlewick, 2012. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6094-9. 

In this primary grade -level atlas, each continent is given one double-page spread, and contains a few small pop-up details.  This would work best at home or in a classroom, but most report-writers will need to add more information.  The deeply saturated color illustrations are interesting, full of trivia, but the borders for each country can be difficult to see. This would also work as a gift item.

Adams, Tom. Matter Matters. Illus. by Thomas Flintham. Templar/Candlewick, 2012. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6096-3.

Simple chemistry is given the pop-up treatment – use this lively book to introduce the subject, then focus on more thorough books to teach the facts. Colorful cartoon illustrations, with a few elaborate pop-ups and plenty of small booklets and pull-tabs, are matched with paragraph-long text sections on the subject. Five simple experiments are outlined, which a reader can reenact quite easily.  Since this is for older children, the pop-ups might last through several library circulations.


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