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.


raidergirl3 said...

I can see the problem in a library, but my sister and I had a few pop up books and we loved them. Cindy Hicks and the Many Mice of Mr Brice were two were read to shreds.
great topic, Maggie.

Tiffany Norris said...

Pop-up books for adults...I'm thinking I would love one. And take better care of it than my 5-year-old self would have. :)

maggie moran said...

Ha girls! I showed them to a couple of faculty today and both left them on the display. They LOVED them BUT they said their little ones would totally tear them up! :P

Jeane said...

I had to stop allowing my daughter to bring pop-ups home from the library when she was a bit younger, because they always got torn and I felt horrible returning damaged books. Now she can handle them without ruining them, but a bit of the magic has gone out, and there aren't as many made for older kids

maggie moran said...

I loved my nursery rhyme pop-up to death, Jeane! I also think it is one of the reasons I love books. I wish I could place STURDIER pop-ups in the hands of all children!

tinylittlelibrarian said...

I'm with you! We only use them for storytime and I've had a few heartbroken looks when I say they can't go out. Although I figure they can't take my puppets or felt stories out, either, so I think most people get that they're a storytime special item.

Our manager of youth services wants to have a special reference collection of them, but I agree with you, I don't think it's the best plan, either.

maggie moran said...

Tiny - I had a fav as a child that I must have played with daily! :) I can picture myself turning the wheel to watch the mice go up the clock! But, books are so expensive and I feel for that child who will never own and only get glimpses of them during storytimes. :(