my collections

pop-up and movable books

Puff the Magic Dragon
engineered by Bruce Foster

Contemporary artist, Tauba Auerbach,
creates pop-ups, 2D, 3D

Spratt's Obstetrical Tables, 1847
I call her, Lady Modesty.

Book Artist, Julie Chen, at work

Little Red Riding Hood-c1850

Giraud's Bookano pop-up

Lord Thumb
video and more!

The Astronomicum

Tuson's Myology
anatomical flap book

Sacrobosco's Sphaera

Videos of classic pop-ups

vojtěch kubašta

Czech It Out!
Translating Kubašta

Kubašta books on video

Kubašta exhibit
at the Bienes Museum, FL

wild & wacky books



Watchpapers: Practical Tokens of Labor and Love
A bit of naughtiness!

Movable postcards
You won't believe your eyes!




The 'Abecedarian' of My Favorite Things:
Wild & Wacky Books from the Popuplady's Collection

(reprinted from ABC Newsletter; vol 13, No. 2, Fall 2001)

(Please click on image to enlarge)


Quirky is the only way I can describe Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. The first edition has a removable 'flattened' fairy who has met its fate by being slammed in the diary of the Victorian, fairy-hating, young Angelica Cottington of England. The final pages are banded in brown paper "to protect the innocent". The fairies seek their revenge by turning the grown-up diarist into a nymphomaniac!!! Imagine my surprise at seeing it prominently displayed in the children's section at Barnes and Nobles. Clearly, no one had read the book!




Pop-up books housing phonograph Records are prizes in my collection. Children's classics, some by Disney but the best by Hallmark, boast carousels of dioramic scenes from classic stories like Pinocchio or The Sword in the Stone allowing children to interact with the scenery, sometimes with punch-out figures, while listening to the music.



I love the ingenious use of Strings in books and ephemera. The earliest examples I have are a Victorian-era Bon Marché (the French department store) postcard whose strings cause the quarter-cut illustrations to morph [or dissolve] into a new picture, and The Story of String and How it Grew (1916) where a real string moves through each page relating to the changing story.




Few books in my collection are more dramatic than those I call, Turn-intos. They are more than just books. With proper manipulation, they become dolls or firehouses or animals. Such clever people are paper engineers!

And clever were the first artists who created the Tunnel book or peepshow. Initially made for promotional purposes, like the opening of the Thames Tunnel in 1851,tunnel books have become popular with artists, including Edward Gorey.


My most Unique item, the only one-of-a-kind I own, is the artist book of The Pit and The Pendulum written by Edgar Allen Poe. Housed in a wooden crate is a hand-crafted guillotine stage. When the pendulum is moved, a miniature classic book rises from a pit. Hardly a toy but so effective!


All my antique Valentines are movable and where possible, reflect on my family life. Dear to me is the plucking double-bass player (son, Ben) and the finger-wagging uniformed cop (son, Andrew).



Without breaking a sweat, I can turn the pages of The 60 Second Work-out-A Pop-Up Action Book by Carla Dijs and lose a few pounds laughing as the zoftig woman exerts her 'thunder thighs'.

I can 'time' these 'workouts' on my tick! tock! time to go out
ristwatch, a series of four books with clockfaces, movable hands, and wrist straps, each covering a time of day and the events occurring at that time, e.g. lunch time will have titled-pictures of foods.


All I want is Music! Music! Music! which I get with books incorporating instruments like the Xylophone. The Sing-A-Song Playerbook! (1938) has an 8 inch metal xylophone, stick, and songbook instructing note-by-note playing. Ben launched his musical career with such a toy!


Yuk! More bodily functions. From the French children's book, loosely translated as, The Little Mole who wanted to know who pooped on his head (De la petite taupe qui voulait savoir qui lui avait fait sur la), matching up size and color with the right animal (not published in the US. Duh!!?) to the series, Smelly Old History- Scratch 'n' Sniff your way through the past. Do we really want to experience the vomitorium in Roman Aromas? (You probably think by now I'm perverted.)


Zoo books are bountiful in any children's book collection. The recent Bembo's Zoo- An Animal ABC Book using the Bembo typeface to create zoo creatures stands out in mine for originality.

The Great Menagerie from 1884 is the archetype of the Golden Age of Pop-ups with rich chromolithographic colors and life-like animals behind three-dimensional bars.

Zis for Zany like most of my Eccentric Books and, maybe, like me too!




Bibliography of books from Abecedarian

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