MiChelle Jones

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"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.

"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 […]
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Some of the authors and illustrators of the books timed to mark the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing are longtime space fans. They faithfully monitored the Apollo 11 mission and documented the adventures of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins in treasured scrapbooks. Now, a new generation will be inspired to follow dreams of traveling back to the moon or even to Mars, or perhaps designing the equipment and procedures for those missions.
Mission, possible

It was a close race, but Jerry Stone’s One Small Step: Celebrating the First Men on the Moon wins honors for best cover. A round hologram shows an astronaut climbing down a ladder, stepping on the moon, moving closer and finally standing front-and-center holding a flag. The rest of the book, presented as an Apollo program scrapbook kept by the grandson of a Mission Control employee (and son of a present-day NASA scientist), is equally fascinating. Scores of photographs—of things like the Apollo 11 crew eating breakfast, a Saturn V rocket under construction—some of which lift to reveal more information—fill the book and wonderful two-page spreads document the in-space experience, the crew’s return to Earth, etc. Other nice touches include a mission diagram of orbits, docking and undocking maneuvers; minibooks of countdown checklists and mission menus; removable facsimiles of VIP and press passes for the Apollo 11 launch; and a hologram showing the rocket lifting off the pad.

There are lots of similarities between One Small Step and Alan Dyer’s Mission to the Moon, including a show-stopping cover—this one features an embossed image of an Apollo 11 astronaut on the lunar surface. A mix of images and short blocks of text (much more inviting and accessible than long passages) cover the men, machines and other aspects of the Apollo program in well-designed spreads. Factor in the enclosed double-sided poster and truly spectacular DVD of authentic NASA footage, and this book is sure to please children and adults.

Junior version
Andrew Chaikin was a space-obsessed 12-year-old the first time he met Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, and there’s a photo on the back flap of Mission Control, This Is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon to prove it. Chaikin, writing with wife Victoria Kohl, covers the same wide territory he so expertly presented in A Man on the Moon, here in a version for junior space fans. There are plenty of photographs of activities on the ground and in space, informative sidebars (waste management gets glorious treatment, as it does in many of the space books published this year) and colorful graphics to appeal to young minds.

In addition to original paintings of his colleagues and their missions, Bean contributes personal reminiscences about them, as well as details about the paintings themselves. For example, he stages the scenes with small models he makes himself, uses crushed soil to add texture and sometimes even grinds up small pieces of mission patches, flags and NASA emblems from his spacesuits into the paint. For budding artists or those otherwise intrigued by the paintings, consider Painting Apollo: First Artist on Another World (Smithsonian Books), which includes 107 of Bean’s paintings and is the companion volume to an exhibition at the National Air & Space Museum July 16 through January 2010.

Fly me to the moon
Buzz Aldrin flew on the Apollo mission just before Alan Bean’s. He teams up again with painter (and pilot) Wendell Minor for Look to the Stars, the follow-up to 2005’s Reaching for the Moon. It’s a quick trip through aviation history sprinkled with personal insights and recollections from Aldrin. He tells us, for example, that crewmate Armstrong took along a piece of fabric from the Wright Brothers’ plane to the moon. (He doesn’t mention that aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh was in the viewing stand for Apollo 11’s launch, seated next to Apollo 13’s Jim Lovell. But, hey, Aldrin was obviously too busy that day to notice.) The timeline at the end of the book is packed with information and looks like a cool 1950s mobile.

One Giant Leap takes its title from the famous words spoken by Armstrong when he became the first man to step on the moon. Written by Robert Burleigh, the book skips the launch and starts when the lunar lander separates from the command service module and heads off toward the moon. Mike Wimmer’s paintings capture the stark beauty of outer space—and his likenesses of the astronauts are astounding.

Brian Floca offers a completely different view of the Apollo 11 mission in Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. Reading Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon inspired Floca to write (and, of course, illustrate) his own project. His paintings are bright and airy, perfect for suggesting the sensation of floating in space, but equally effective portraying Mission Control, liftoff and star-studded space vistas. Floca's images are paired with lyrical text that turns the technical achievement of the moon landing into a poetic—and thrilling—adventure. Author and/or illustrator of more than two dozen children's books, including the Sibert Honor-winning Lightship, Floca reaches new heights in Moonshot.

Cool, daddy, cool
If you’ve not yet seen the world via M. Sasek’s series of children’s travel books, here’s the perfect excuse to do so: This is the Way to the Moon is the latest of the series to be re-released. Originally published in 1963, the book is a colorful time capsule from the hip world of Cape Canaveral during the era of “Right Stuff” astronauts. Sasek’s simple, stylish drawings show off the clothes, cars and buildings of the day—including a beautiful rendering of a two-story hotel favored by the Mercury 7 astronauts, complete with pool, splashy sign and geometric wrought-iron railing. Sasek also wrote the accompanying text, which is tinged with the sarcasm of a late 1950s animated feature. Halfway through This is the Way to the Moon, he makes an easy transition into more technical drawings of rockets—really missiles at this point in the space program—and explanatory copy.

Tomi Ungerer’s Moon Man is another oldie but goodie re-released this year. Rockets don’t appear until nearly the end of this tale about the man in the moon catching a ride on a falling star to satisfy his curiosity about the fun-loving earthlings he spies each night. After causing a series of events familiar to fans of the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, the moon man visits a tinkerer-scientist and catches a ride back to his orb. Ungerer’s lush colorful illustrations add to the poignancy of the story.

Some of the authors and illustrators of the books timed to mark the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing are longtime space fans. They faithfully monitored the Apollo 11 mission and documented the adventures of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins in treasured scrapbooks. Now, a new generation will be inspired to follow […]
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Eric Carle celebrates two milestones this year: his 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of one of his beloved little creatures. To mark the occasion of the latter, he has translated the 1969 classic tale of a butterfly larva’s culinary and developmental adventures into 3-D. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up Book retells the familiar story—complete with the trail of holes left by the caterpillar—in Carle’s signature lush hues.

The story starts on a moonlit night: the sky’s awash in turquoise, cobalt and teal; and a face emerges from the whites, grays and blues of the moon. Carle achieves these layered colors by creating collages of torn and cut hand-painted tissue paper; the resulting images elevate even the simplest pops to works of art.

In The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up Book, all the fruit the caterpillar devours in his first week is shown (the pears and apple are rendered especially well; they look as though snatched from an old master’s still life). His Saturday binge is a smorgasbord of chocolate cake, Swiss cheese, ice cream, pickle, lollipop and more. Once the caterpillar returns to a more suitable diet—and after he recovers from his Saturday night stomachache—our little friend experiences a Nutcracker tree-like growth spurt before settling into his magnificent accordion-like cocoon. His metamorphosis is complete by the final double spread, when he appears as a Klimt- and Hundertwasser-esque masterpiece.

Carle was a graphic designer for the New York Times and got his start in books by illustrating Bill Martin Jr.’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? He then began creating his own colorful children’s books, drawing his inspiration from nature. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was his second and has remained a favorite of the youngest of readers for decades.

Eric Carle celebrates two milestones this year: his 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of one of his beloved little creatures. To mark the occasion of the latter, he has translated the 1969 classic tale of a butterfly larva’s culinary and developmental adventures into 3-D. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up Book retells the familiar story—complete […]
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What's in your wardrobe?

Valentino: Themes and Variations begins with a series of photos documenting the couturier's final collection, from seamstresses hovered over a single garment to the finale of evening gowns in his signature poppy red. Next comes Valentino's exquisite creations shown on silver gray mannequins and interspersed with sketches and contemporary photos. Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, the pieces offer a sartorial snapshot of the decades: a 1972 pink gingham shantung maxi skirt, Julia Roberts' 1992 Oscar gown with cascading train of black tulle and white ribbons. The final chapter shows 40 years of magazine campaigns.

Long before Valentino presented his first collection in 1959 (before he was born, in fact), Edward Steichen was reinventing the fashion shoot. The portraits of models and celebrities in William A. Ewing and Todd Brandow's Edward Steichen: In High Fashion – The Cond

One of Steichen's breakthroughs was elevating the commercial to art, as he did with shoes in the 1920s. Caroline Cox's Vintage Shoes: Collecting and Wearing Twentieth-Century Designer Footwear suggests he had fabulous material to work with. Cox steps through the rest of the century, discussing major styles, influential designers and all sorts of trivia—from the origins of terms like "spectators" and "flappers" to the influence of the Charleston, tango and other dances on footwear. The many accompanying images are easier on the eyes than the small, sans serif typeface, so don't feel bad about skipping ahead to ogle the striking pumps and slings; ballet slippers and mules; Louis, Cuban and stiletto heels; go – go and kinky boots; platforms and wedges. Oh my.

Living like Ed

Anyone who's seen Ed Begley Jr.'s quirky reality show knows that living green isn't always pretty or comfortable—but it can be, according to Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire. Along with gorgeous photo spreads of each dwelling, there's a list of its green features, which can include gray water systems, recycled and natural fabrics, lots of energy-efficient windows, even a pneumatic elevator. While the eco – friendly route was the logical choice for homeowners like Dwell's marketing director or an environmental lawyer wed to a biostatistician, others were inspired by health concerns or memories of the energy crisis of the late 1970s. The resulting homes range from the Manhattan brownstone of co-authors Lisa Sharkey and Paul Gleicher; a Venice Beach house in mirrored glass (featured on HGTV's "Extreme Living" this fall); and a Seattle house with regionally appropriate dining chairs made of metal recycled from a Boeing jet.

The focus in Domino: The Book of Decorating is more on achieving a comfortable, personalized style rather than an eco-friendly one. Packed with great photos, this delightful book devotes a chapter to every room in the house, including foyers and bathrooms—one of the best re-dos takes a loo from deal-breaker to simple, practical, beautiful—and kids' rooms. A charming drawing leads each chapter, followed by a description of the room's key item (sofa, table, bed); "steal this room" and mix-and-match suggestions, as well as ideas for small spaces. Finally a "Domino effect" spread charts the development of a feature room by showing the various elements—furniture, clipped magazine pages, swatch, memory of a store or room—that inspired the design. The book references websites and comes with a free subscription to the popular magazine.

What's in your wardrobe? Valentino: Themes and Variations begins with a series of photos documenting the couturier's final collection, from seamstresses hovered over a single garment to the finale of evening gowns in his signature poppy red. Next comes Valentino's exquisite creations shown on silver gray mannequins and interspersed with sketches and contemporary photos. Arranged […]
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A special holiday gift from a picture-book master, Eric Carle's Dream Snow Pop-up Advent Calendar. In this scene from Carle's bright, colorful world, a tree stands in the snow with presents underneath and Santa nearby – and a field of windows hiding trinkets to be added to the tree. (Meanwhile, the calendar's cover, sleeve and dimensions will likely trigger a visceral reaction in those old enough to remember when music came on vinyl!)

From the heavens

Two chance encounters inspired Chuck Fischer's move away from the holiday themes of his two previous books: a 1960s children's Bible in New York, and a daytrip during a stint at the American Academy in Rome. Fischer's paintings are always gorgeous, but In the Beginning: The Art of Genesis, features especially outstanding works, inspired by and based on religious masterpieces (all of which are listed on a pullout at the end of the book). Working again with paper engineer Bruce Foster, Fischer includes a stunning mosaic – like spread recounting the saga of Adam and Eve, a monumental Tower of Babel and a Tiffany-esque depiction of Jacob's Ladder. Text by Curtis Flowers retells the stories and discusses symbolism in the images, making ample use of mini books and pullouts.

Cosmic: The Ultimate 3-D Guide to the Universe starts with a bang – a pop-up of the Big Bang, complete with sound. From there, it's off on a journey through planets, asteroids and other space – bound objects, including the Hubble Telescope and the Space Shuttle. As spectacular as paper engineer Richard Ferguson's pop – ups of the planets and the Apollo 15 lunar lander are – and they really are incredible – author Giles Sparrow's text makes it a great gift for space fans, whether they love pop – ups or not.

You might as well make it a twofer with Moon Landing, by Richard Platt and paper engineer David Hawcock. Published in advance of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the book is also loaded with history on space flight, referencing the people, politics and technology that put men on the Moon. The representations of the spacecraft – a command module and lunar module that dock (!), a super-long Saturn V, a Gemini capsule – are beyond cool. Lucky ones who receive both Moon Landing and Cosmic will end up with two pop-up lunar landers.

Children's tales

Big brother Charlie was able to convince the irascible Lola to try peas and other foods in I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato; now he faces another seemingly impossible task in Lauren Child's made-for-bedtime story Charlie and Lola's I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed Pop-up!. This year the pops are even better, with twirling pajama-clad dogs, Laura up a tree and milk-sipping tigers. Flaps, dials and oozing toothpaste will help wear out little tykes trying to resist sleep (maybe even Lola).

Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart released the first book in their new Encyclopedia Mythologica series, Fairies and Magical Creatures, this summer. In Brava Strega Nona!, the pop-up wizards interpret Tomie dePaola's Caldecott Honor – winning depiction of a magical grandma as only they can. Spreads of a sea of pasta, a courtyard full of celebrating villagers, and a meal served al fresco under an arbor bring the beloved tale to life.

Nonfiction pops

With Sabuda and Reinhart having left beasts behind, Lucio and Meera Santoro, the husband-and-wife team who soared to great heights in 2007's Journey to the Moon, take on Predators. They start with a gigantic spider, even more menacing rendered in the Santoros' trademarked swing pop-ups; pull out the informative mini-pops if you dare. Much pleasanter – even if the actual animals might be just as dangerous – are the bald eagle rising majestically from a navy-blue background, a scaly crocodile and snow – white (naturally) polar bears. Clever mini flaps advise on distinguishing between crocodiles and alligators (here's an idea: stay away from both); discuss how a species hunts and whether it's endangered and how to tell a leopard by its spots (a tiger by its stripes, etc.)

For the past few years, Robert Crowther has explored various transportation options, Trains in 2006 and Flight the following year. Now he's onto Ships and he starts at the beginning of the story, with Egyptians, Romans and Vikings. Crowther's books pack a lot of information into a deceptively simple, accessible design that combines pulls and flaps with large – and small – scale pops of vessels. He explains everything from propellers to ports, poles to oars, simple sailing craft to complex ocean liners and aircraft carriers.

As easy as . . .

The cover of French designer Marion Bataille's ABC3D alone – a hologram that cycles through the first four letters of the alphabet – is worth the price of admission. Inside is no less enchanting: letters spring, unfold or flip into place as the pages are turned. "C" flips to become "D," conjoined lowercase "i" and "j" share a red spiraled dot, appropriated angled black strokes on vellum change "O" and "P" to their successors, and so on.

David A. Carter's Yellow Square continues his inventive pop – up puzzles. Using his signature palette, he challenges readers to find the graphic element, in this case a yellow square, hidden amid a pull – up "swirligig," net – encased Seuss – like towers, a Mondrian – inspired construction and a jiggly tree.

Do it yourself

If reading the above has left you inspired to try your own pop – ups, you won't find a better resource than The Pocket Paper Engineer, the second work by renowned instructor Carol Barton. The book is a step – by – step guide to 10 projects exploring two essential pop – up elements: platforms and props (spirals, tabs, etc.). Barton's own works are in collections such as the Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

A special holiday gift from a picture-book master, Eric Carle's Dream Snow Pop-up Advent Calendar. In this scene from Carle's bright, colorful world, a tree stands in the snow with presents underneath and Santa nearby – and a field of windows hiding trinkets to be added to the tree. (Meanwhile, the calendar's cover, sleeve and […]
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October 1843 was the worst of times for Charles Dickens, Les Standiford explains in The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits. Despite early successes and a secure place in the literary canon, at 31, Dickens found his career, finances and marriage at low points. And yet, he rallied to write one of the most enduring tales of all time in just six weeks. Showing how the Carol (as Dickens referred to the novella) developed in Dickens' mind—inspired by a lifelong love of Christmas, a belief in social responsibility and a hope of quick financial rewar—is just one of the accomplishments of Standiford's entertaining book. He also covers the publishing and copyright industry of the mid-1800s, the history of the Christmas holiday and provides a view of life in England during the Victorian Age. Standiford includes a succinct paraphrasing of A Christmas Carol as well as a rundown of some of the thousands of adaptations and parodies of the work.

As an antidote to the more saccharine expressions of holiday cheer, turn to John Grossman's fourth holiday book, Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas. Culled from the author's collection of antique postcards and advertisements, this parade of evil spirits, surly Santas and bad children also has a (slightly) softer side, showing the evolution of the old elf from European figure to all-American icon.

Christmastime in the city
Whether you use A Very New York Christmas as a planner for Christmases future or memory book of Christmases past, this little book makes a delightful Christmas present. Featuring the beautiful artwork found on Michael Storrings' NYC-themed holiday ornaments, the book takes readers on a colorful watercolor tour of Manhattan and the other boroughs, starting with the Macy's parade. Snowflakes—Swarovski at Saks and Baccarat at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue—follow, along with St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Plaza, the Guggenheim, scenes of Central Park and a giant menorah. Then it's on to the American Museum of Natural History's Origami Tree and the tricked out Dyker Heights neighborhood before returning to Times Square for New Year's Eve. A map at book's end (rendered in watercolor, of course) shows the location of all the pictured sites.

Visions of gingerbread

If decorating a tree isn't enough of a challenge, try the confectionary wonders in Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman's witty The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes. For each of the architectural styles, architect Matheson and former pastry chef Chattman include ingredients, step – by – step instructions, a dollop of history and suggestions for even more elaborate decoration. Even those of us who lack patience or coordination may be tempted to try the structures, which include an urban brownstone, an art deco gem, a Corbusier – esque "modern" house, a Victorian farmhouse and a Cape Cod.

Simpler gingerbread creations are described in Yvonne Jeffery's The Everything Family Christmas Book, along with a Spirit of Christmas Present-worthy bounty of holiday-themed games, lists of Christmas movies and TV shows, party ideas, decorating tips, etc. This is a great resource for new families or households, someone hosting the family Christmas for the first time or otherwise seeking to establish new traditions. Among the treats Jeffery includes: suggestions for reducing holiday stress and dealing with guests; the top gifts of various decades and how much they cost; and how the holiday is observed around the world.

Holidays on nice

Have a box of tissues handy when you sit down with Ed Butchart's More Pages from the Red Suit Diaries; David Sedaris, he ain't. Butchart was the official Santa at Georgia's Stone Mountain Park for 18 years and in this follow-up to 2003's Red Suit Diaries, he shares more heartwarming stories of his adventures as a real-bearded Santa. In vignettes familiar to viewers of made-for-TV holiday movies (and a couple reminiscent of Miracle on 34th Street), Butchart astounds little kids with his insider knowledge, puts parents at ease and delights in seeing second-generation visitors. He also makes a few miracles happen through the ministry he founded with his late wife, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC).

October 1843 was the worst of times for Charles Dickens, Les Standiford explains in The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits. Despite early successes and a secure place in the literary canon, at 31, Dickens found his career, finances and marriage at low […]
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Steven Heller's Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State concentrates on the aesthetic programs of the Nazis, Italy's fascists, Russia's Marxists and China's Communists. Heller begins with an overview of each regime's rise to power, overall design identity and the cult of personality that grew around each of the leaders: Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and then Stalin, and Mao.

Heller assumes a basic familiarity with design movements, yet the book is also accessible to non-experts through abundant illustrations and because some of the concepts transcended their regimes to become either prototypical or iconographic. These include the striking diagonals and photomontages of Russian Constructivist posters and the ubiquitous red plastic-covered Little Red Book of Mao's writings. But nothing comes close to the overreaching and frighteningly successful design campaign instituted by the Nazis, which, as Heller puts it, "ultimately became a textbook example—indeed a perverse paradigm—of corporate branding." To that end, he discusses the use of typefaces, photographs of Hitler, posters and almost every other sort of media put in service of the Nazi platform.

Ennis Carter's Posters for the People: Art of the WPA celebrates the 75th anniversary of FDR's New Deal through posters created between 1935 and 1943 by the Works Progress Administration. Of the 35,000 designs created (and more than two million posters printed), there are only 900 in the Library of Congress collection. This leaves many posters waiting to be rediscovered; one such cache was the impetus of this book.

Brief, informative essays by Carter and Christopher DeNoon (Posters of the WPA) open the book, but for the most part the 500 reproduced posters, grouped according to "values being promoted and the actions being encouraged," speak for themselves. Some are quaint and innocent (lots of milk drives, children's art classes, farm events), some less so (quite a few tout treatment for syphilis). Among the most striking designs: posters integrating intricate patterns drawn from Native American pottery and textiles; a travel series showcasing national parks and other sites; and a surprisingly gorgeous trade zone poster featuring stylized black ships with colorful smokestacks against a blue background.

Steven Heller's Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State concentrates on the aesthetic programs of the Nazis, Italy's fascists, Russia's Marxists and China's Communists. Heller begins with an overview of each regime's rise to power, overall design identity and the cult of personality that grew around each of the leaders: Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and […]
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Should your copy of Lorna Goodison's From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island fall open at part II, you will find yourself reading about the arrival of a cricket team in a Jamaican town. The team's driver never makes it to the pitch, falling in love with a daughter of the town's leading family instead; thus begins Goodison's parents' courtship. Set in the 1930s, it's a tale of well-dressed men and women, beautifully furnished homes and close-knit families told against a backdrop of an island nation where, as within the Harvey family itself, African and colonial heritages mingle, sometimes with pride, sometimes with conflict.

From Harvey River combines family history with that of Goodison's beloved Jamaica. She describes how the Harveys settled the town named for them, how they met their respective spouses, their shopping expeditions and, in the case of her parents, how they adjusted to living in reduced circumstances in Kingston. Along the way she explores many tangents, each one an opportunity to introduce people like Marcus Garvey and Claude McKay; the "Rocksteady" beat; even a forgotten stitch: "Every once in a while, when the culture of a people undergoes great stress, stitches drop out of existence, out of memory. The hardanga had disappeared when the great Jamaican freedom fighter Sam Sharpe was executed in 1832. . . ." Though she says this book was handed to her in a dream by her late mother, and while she has previously written about one of her ancestors (the Guinea Woman) in particular, there's another reason for this story. Growing up, she writes, "never once were we introduced to a poem, a story, or a play by a West Indian or African American writer; and very rarely did we ever encounter anything written by a woman. I secretly began to remedy that, writing . . . poems and stories by a little Jamaican girl who wanted to see herself and her people reflected in the books she read." Goodison writes in the lyrical, image-filled passages common to poets turning to prose; hers are also imbued with a slight Jamaican lilt.
 

Should your copy of Lorna Goodison's From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island fall open at part II, you will find yourself reading about the arrival of a cricket team in a Jamaican town. The team's driver never makes it to the pitch, falling in love with a daughter of the […]
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In the decades since the publication of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the title character has become almost as much a part of the holiday season as Santa Claus. Is this the ultimate irony, considering how much the Grinch despised the noisy festivities of the Whos, who lived just south of him in Whoville? Not really, because as we all know, after his heart grew a few sizes, the Grinch came to appreciate the joyous Whos, and even deigned to carve the roast beast at the Who feast.

In How the Grinch Stole Christmas! A 50th Anniversary Retrospective the tale appears in all its original two-color pen-and-ink glory as we learn in an accompanying essay by Seussiana collector Dr. Charles D. Cohen (no need to tell youngsters that he's also a dentist), the grinchy-green hue didn't come about till the 1966 animated TV special. A party edition of the story with special foil cover is also available.

Though Dr. Seuss, the alter-ego of Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote the book in one month and then illustrated it in two, he had pondered the idea of an anti-Santa Claus and a Christmas without ribbons . . . tags . . . packages, boxes or bags for years. Cohen traces the evolution of the character and puts Geisel's work into context, pointing out, for example, that two other books about endangered Christmases were published in 1957: Phyllis McGinley's The Year Without Santa Claus, which had appeared in Good Housekeeping a year earlier; and Ogden Nash's The Christmas That Almost Wasn't. But only Seuss' creation has become a cultural phenomenon, leading to two other television specials, a film, a Broadway musical and, of course, countless allusions in headlines. Cohen runs through a list of TV references to the Grinch's yuletide antics, illustrating that as a figure of holiday redemption, he ranks up there with another baddie gone good: Ebenezer Scrooge.

In the decades since the publication of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the title character has become almost as much a part of the holiday season as Santa Claus. Is this the ultimate irony, considering how much the Grinch despised the noisy festivities of the Whos, who lived just south of him in Whoville? Not […]
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If you were in London at just the right time this fall, you were able to see both Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown at Buckingham Palace and the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum's latest fashion exhibition. The queen's gown was designed by British couturier Norman Hartnell for her 1947 wedding, a much-heralded dash of splendor after the austere war years. But it was another designer, Christian Dior, who ushered in what was dubbed the New Look of postwar fashion that year. Dior's full-bodied skirts and use of luxurious fabrics are the jumping-off point of The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, the companion volume to the V&A show, edited by senior curator Claire Wilcox.

Ultra-sophisticated photographs by Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, the Seeberger brothers, John French and others highlight pieces by Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel, Balmain and Jacques Fath. Eight chapter-length essays cover the development of the French couture system, the industry before and during the Second World War, fabrics, the imagery of couture, the inner workings of fashion houses and more. Sidebars discuss the photographers, designers, the New Look itself, and such clever marketing ploys as traveling collections of exquisitely outfitted fashion dolls.

AMERICAN ORIGINALS
To mark his 40th anniversary in fashion, the eponymous Ralph Lauren, also available in a really expensive $400-edition, tracks the designer's career from his days as a tie salesman to his emergence as lifestyle merchant. This is no small feat, as shown in an illustrated timeline studded with Lauren's accomplishments first with a shop in Bloomingdale's, first American designer with a freestanding store and later with a store outside the U.S., first to launch a full home collection, first official outfitter of Wimbledon. Lauren has always managed to infuse his clothing and home fashions with the kind of backstory that inspired him, one of Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Mickey Mantle, FDR, and JFK. This oversized volume is full of beautiful photographs (even Lauren's family photographs are magazine-quality) from fashion shoots, progressing from the earliest Polo shirts to the latest Purple Label suits. A visual index at book's end lists the photographers (Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, Carter Berg, etc.) and the names that go with the famous faces (Linda Evangelista, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Tyson Beckford, Jane Gill, Valentina Zelyaeva).

There's couture and then there's what people really wear, as documented in New York Look Book: A Gallery of Street Fashion, a collection of the monthly columns by New York magazine fashion writer Amy Larocca and photographer Jake Chessum. These are literally person-on-the-street interviews and shoots, of a perfectly coordinated Jerry Hall-esque mother of four, design firm partners in outfits worthy of Andre 3000 (navy RL blazer, striped scarf, houndstooth trousers), a stylish tot in a vintage pram, and, at the other end of life, a natty retiree in taupe suede shoes. A few celebrities show up as well Oleg Cassini; Helen Mirren in long, charcoal pleated skirt and pale pink cardigan, red glasses hanging around her neck; John Waters in turquoise Levi's; and Cynthia Rowley. There is a delightful contrast between youthful experimentation and the self-assuredness of the older subjects.

THE WELL-DRESSED HOME
British interior designer Kelly Hoppen's loft home is in a converted girls' school; that aesthetic of cozy spaces within wide-open expanses fills her latest book, Kelly Hoppen Home: From Concept to Reality. Teaming again with writer Helen Chislett and photographer Vincent Knapp, Hoppen offers a practical guide to designing one's abode, regardless of preferred style. Using her home as well as those of clients for case studies, she explains each space with floor plans, photographs and detailed room boards featuring fabric swatches and images of the room's elements. A beautiful presentation of Hoppen's signature style neutral palettes with light and dark contrasts, peppered with a splash of color or show-stopping piece Kelly Hoppen Home is also a useful project manual for expressing one's own vision.

If you were in London at just the right time this fall, you were able to see both Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown at Buckingham Palace and the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum's latest fashion exhibition. The queen's gown was designed by British couturier Norman Hartnell for her 1947 wedding, a much-heralded dash of […]
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It seemed like every Apollo fan's dream: tracking down the surviving nine men who walked on the moon to discuss the landings and their lives since returning to Earth. As Andrew Smith discovered, however, the task required squaring the imagery of his lunar-age childhood with the baggage of the Cold War and the irreversible effects of time. It also required a certain amount of soul-searching just to figure out what he wanted to find. Given all of this, it should follow that his resulting book, Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth, is an inherently sad chronicle of disillusionment, but it isn't. Instead, Smith comes to terms with the various issues, examines the impact of the Apollo program on national and world culture and provides the biographical sketches, updates and astronaut face-time coveted by his fellow space fans.

As he meets his famous subjects one by one, he finally detects a pattern in the apparent randomness of their post-Apollo career trajectories. He finds the lunar module pilots Aldrin, Bean, Mitchell, Duke and Schmitt much more expressive of their lunar experience, which, he says, seems to remain a vivid part of their lives. Of the mission commanders, he writes: Armstrong, Young, Cernan, Scott: I can admire them all in different ways, but wouldn't want them near me if I was a talk-show host or composer of sonnets. He surmises that legendary astronaut puppeteer Deke Slayton knew exactly what he was doing when he put these men in the right seat, the commander's seat.

Slayton, Kranz, Kraft and other behind-the-scenes men are part of Smith's succinct overview of Apollo. He covers everything from the politics that led to its creation (and then to its end) to the so-called Mercury 13 women candidates and even the Apollo wives' subtle attempts at subterfuge against the mighty NASA PR machine. He delivers it all in well-written, conversational prose infused with a touch of British wit and a delightful ability to recapture the wide-eyed innocence with which he watched the Apollo era unfold.

It seemed like every Apollo fan's dream: tracking down the surviving nine men who walked on the moon to discuss the landings and their lives since returning to Earth. As Andrew Smith discovered, however, the task required squaring the imagery of his lunar-age childhood with the baggage of the Cold War and the irreversible effects […]

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