"I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny. Sometimes Mom and Dad ask me to. . ." Thus begins each book (and episode) of Charlie and Lola, entertaining siblings with active imaginations, and it's a good thing, too, as little Lola has a strong will and a picky appetite. Clever (and extremely patient) Charlie comes up with all sorts of ideas to get her to eat in Charlie and Lola's I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, the hilarious pop-up version of Lauren Child's Kate Greenaway Medal-winning book. Tomatoes aren't the only things Lola refuses to eat, and in one spread her eyes roll around in her head as the uneaten items on her plate change. More nixed items show up on pull-down menus on the adjacent page. There are lots of flaps to tug this way and that as readers play with Lola's food. Try this with your own discriminating eater.
Peek in My Pocket is another great book for tiny ones. With paper-engineering by David A. Carter (who also created this year's 600 Black Spots, the latest in his design museum-worthy series) and simple text by Sarah Weeks, young readers are introduced to shapes, colors and textures presented by well-dressed animals.
In The Pompeii Pop-up subtle, but effective pop-ups by David Hawcock (The Ancient Egypt Pop-up Book) tell the story of the famous Roman city. Written by textbook author Peter Riley with Dr. Thorston Opper, curator of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, the book covers more than what happened on that August day in AD 79. The authors also present a detailed view of life in the ancient world, explaining currency, religion, water management and home life. Pop-ups include a sailing vessel, a Roman bath and an erupting Mount Vesuvius; there is also a little booklet on Herculaneum and a wearable gladiator mask.
The classics are ripe for pop-up interpretation and Sam Ita jumps in with Moby-Dick, A Pop-up Book. Spectacular spreads in this graphic novel meets pop-up put the reader into Herman Melville's story: watching the Pequod sail out of harbor and later standing among the rowdy sailors on deck. For pure spectacle, though, nothing matches the moment when Capt. Ahab and his crew meet the legendary white whale. Ita sticks with water for the next book in this series, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, coming next spring.
The bright colors in Journey to the Moon by husband-and-wife graphic designers Lucio and Meera Santoro give it a storybook quality. But the defining feature of this book is the use of suspended pop-up elements: a steam locomotive in the Harry Potter-esque opening spread, a Spruce Goose-like plane (puffy clouds and the view of houses down below complete the illusion of flight), a Jeep kicking up dust. This series of adventures prepares the intrepid young narrator for the ultimate one dodging asteroids and star clusters as his bright-red rocket ship heads to the Moon, where a lunar module and other surprises await.
Who better than Matthew Reinhart to interpret George Lucas' Star Wars saga in pop-up? Not only is Reinhart a devoted fan (as he told BookPage in June), but his in-depth, layered approach is necessary to do justice to the beloved series. In Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy, Reinhart employs his signature mini-pop sidebars, hand-painted paper and info-crammed pages to create a complete 30th-anniversary reference volume. Familiar characters and creatures (good and evil) are featured in large pop-ups C-3PO and R2-D2 with foil highlights, Darth Vader's head or small ones (Jedis, Yoda and a not-so-small Chewie). Anyone longing for their 1970s Star Wars toys will love the working lightsabers and a hovering Millennium Falcon, along with smaller pops of X-wing Starfighters and other ships.
Popigami: When Everyday Paper Pops! is a little like P.H. Hanson's books (My Grandpa's Briefcase and this year's My Mommy's Tote) in that it takes the ordinary accoutrements of adult life and renders them as fascinating as they appear to little ones. Through James Diaz's origami-like pop-ups and Francesca Diaz's illustrations, the pages of a newspaper become a flock of birds, boats made from boarding passes and passport pages sail across a map and chewing gum-wrapper birds swirl along with fall leaves (this spread could also be used to teach a lesson about littering). Father and daughter Diaz are masters of detail: An office mishap includes ducks made from legal pad paper swimming in coffee spilt across a calendar marked with deadlines and meetings.
Yes, readers will learn about forts, Native Americans, prospecting, upholding and breaking the law, and the Civil War in Anton Radevsky's The Wild West Pop-up Book. But what will really fire young imaginations are the amazing free-standing props that come with the book (once they figure out how to set them up). A Conestoga wagon, three-car Iron Horse, stage coach and a cowboy and his trusty horse cover transportation of the era, while the main drag of a bustling Western town forms the backdrop for countless showdowns.
Little girls, and some not-so-little ones, who loved Robyn Johnson's The Enchanted Dolls' House will find a beloved second home in Dream House. Billed as an interactive play house, the book opens out to reveal a two-story Georgian, complete with a formal dining room, ballroom, balcony and columns, courtyards and working lights(!). Young Mary-Beth, who lives in the house, shares her thoughts in a little booklet. While it would have been nice to have a paper doll of Mary-Beth, active imaginations (or a set of paper dolls to scale) will help fill the rooms, for which, by the way, there are several pieces of furniture to assemble.