Friday, April 27, 2007

Pop-Up Magic

Are you familiar with Robert Sabuda? If not, get excited. And even if you are, I bet you'll learn at least one new thing about him today...

Robert Sabuda is the man! He creates pop-up books which--in my opinion--are totally unrivaled as the best pop-up books available. Today I'll share: #1) Some cool tidbits about Robert Sabuda himself, #2) Some of his greatest titles and what I think you should do with them and #3) How you and/or your child(ren) can become pop-up artists, too!

FIRST: It was rather a fluke how Robert got into making pop-ups. As a child, his mother took him to the dentist. Having had previous terrifying experiences at a dentist's office, Robert was very nervous as he sat in the waiting room. His mother picked up a book out of a basket near their seats and Robert discovered that it was a pop-up book. He says of the experience, "I was so excited I forgot all about the dentist!" Ever since then he loved making his own pop-ups. His mother worked in an office and would bring him home manila filing folders which he says were perfect for making pop-ups. And that's how it happened! After studying art at the Pratt Institute in New York City and working as a children's book illustrator for a time, he began creating the pop-up books that have since made him famous.

SECOND: You will not be disappointed by any of Sabuda's work. I promise. Here are my two favorites: Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up (A-MAZ-ING! We're talking cooler special effects than Jurassic Park!) and America The Beautiful: A Pop-Up Book (gorgeous, awe-inspiring). Here are two that I am excited to read: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up and The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up: Based on the Books by C. S. Lewis (I think you should read them, too, and let me know what you think!) Here's what I think you should do with these books (besides reading them!). I think these books should be considered a special treat. They are fairly expensive ($20-30) and obviously a bit fragile. So I think we should teach our children to treat them like a newborn baby or our Grandmother's china. All books need to be treated with respect, and these ones are particularly deserving. In my classroom library I had a "special collections" section that contained all of my pop-ups and other fragile texts. My second-graders knew they had to ask permission to look at them and that they had to wash their hands first. It was so delightful to watch them gingerly turn the pages and marvel wide-eyed at the amazing, special books. I think we should all have a "special collections" section in our home libraries. Then it can be a parent-child-togetherness experience to read such fun books as these by Robert Sabuda.

THIRD: You can be a pop-up prince or diva just like Robert Sabuda! And so can your children. On his fabulous website,, Robert gives oodles of instructions and shares templates so you can make your very own pop-ups. They vary in difficulty and make awesome greeting cards! (My second-graders made the ones with Christmas trees quite easily, and had a ball!) So check that out and wax creative the next time you need a card instead of giving $4.25 to Hallmark or American Greetings.
Oh, I hope you love Robert Sabuda as much as I do! ENJOY! p.s. Come ON! How incredible is that?!

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