Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pop-Ups (copy)

As a librarian, I have a love-hate relationship with pop-up books. Obviously, they are books; thus, my eternal love. It is the lifespan of pop-ups that causes me such grief. When purchasing them for the library, I automatically think I am wasting taxpayers' money. How many children will enjoy the book before it becomes a broken mess?

The act of placing the book behind the counter to save it from wear and tear also defeats the purpose of providing the book. If a child cannot read it because I hold it hostage in a protected area, he will never benefit from its use. Removing it from the "safe" shelf for story time does ease my guilt, but it remains inaccessible to that child who may need a little visual stimulus to foster her love of books.

Pop-up books can be seen as gimmicky. A child benefits from the bright colors and sing-song words in a regular children's picture book. Pop-ups are icing on the cake. There is no proof that a pop-up stimulates the brain, but one can guess that twinkle in her child's eyes might mean something is taking place – possibly fun.

It is with a heavy heart I suggest David A. Carter's pop-up books. I realize their little book bodies will be bruised, torn and mangled. They will encounter many dirty-little hands pushing tabs, grabbing at dangly spots, and catching piecer-parts that fly. These books are doomed. Woe is the book that encounters a known slobberer.

Born in 1957, David A. Carter began his career in the 70s as a graphic designer. He was fooling around at work making little paper bugs when he thought of creating a book for children. His first book, "How Many Bugs in a Box?" became popular and in 1987 he started his own business making "buggy" pop-up books.

Fast forward and we find Carter creating pop-art, pop-ups. His latest titled White Noise opens with the line, "Rainbow bubble blast and crackly white noise." As the child opens the cover he sees red, yellow, blue, and black dots rising from the page. It reminds me of a retro 50's table cloth or glass tumbler design. The three dimensional art makes noise as white gears scrap across black dots.

Yes, I did purchase it for the library along with, Blue 2, Yellow Square, 600 Black Spots, and One Red Dot. Hopefully, these books will have a longer shelf life with adult students.