Friday, October 22, 2004


A shipment arrived from Amazon yesterday. One book for me (mabye I'll tell you about it someday), and one book I ordered for a little soon-to-be-5-year-old girl I know: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a pop-up adaptation of Lewis Carroll's original tale by Robert Sabuda.

It is AMAZING. Magnificent. Awesome. Extraordinary. Fantastic.

The New York Times summarizes the composition of the book:

Sabuda's faithful adaptation of the original Carroll text is a pleasure to read. It appears on separate page flaps that are pasted on the side of each of the six spreads, adjacent to an exploding main tableau that rather than simply unfolding, literally flies off the page (watch out for your eyes).

While separate text flaps are common in movable books, Sabuda adds to these pages more than a dozen smaller cameo pop-ups that cleverly illustrate specific passages. On the first spread there is a smartly included accordion-folded tunnel-vision "theater," so when the reader pulls up and looks down, poor Alice is viewed haplessly falling down the rabbit hole.

The rabbit is fuzzy!

Helena is a little young for this. I've kept it well out of sight for fear of having to wrest it from her tiny, grubby little hands in a million pieces. The intended recipient, though older, is, I would have to say, a trifle more monster-like in her tendencies. However, it being a gift, should she derive pleasure from pouring real liquids at the tea party (or breaking up said party) or flinging the two packs of cards to the wind, so be it.

From an NPR story:

Pop-ups are among the last types of books still made individually by hand and the production process is painstaking. For one of the pages in the new book, Alice is caught in a whirlwind of playing cards — two full decks, 104 cards in all, accurate right down to the suits and royalty.

Sabuda says that as he strives to "make the paper obey," his goal is to create a book full of "wow" moments for his young readers. "Whatever it takes to bring kids back to books — and back to classical books — I want to be a part of that," he says.

Wow. Wow. WOW!

Off with her head. Posted by Hello

Robert Sabuda:
Interview (1999).
Interview (2003).
Article, with reviews of his books.

On a related matter, J-F's been asking me to explain Humpty Dumpty. We've discovered a little bit of history — apparently the image of Humpty Dumpty as an egg first appeared in Alice through the Looking Glass, but how a war-machine morphed into an anthropomorphic egg is still a mystery to me.


Anonymous said...

When I lived in Philly I worked at a children's bookstore, and we had Sabuda in for a talk and signing. He is such an amazing artist and a fascinating person. His "Wizard of Oz" pop-up is glorious as well, and I even like his "Night Before Christmas" (and I'm not a Christmas person!)


Isabella said...

Would you put this glorious artwork in the hands of your child? Obviously I'm OK with buying it for a friend's child, and I'd be OK with a friend buying it for my child — art is meant to be enjoyed after all — but something holds me back from giving this book to Helena myself, like I should just give her some legal tender to tear up.