Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: “The Little Mermaid” pop-up book by Robert Sabuda

Take a classic and tragic tale of unrequited love, and combine it with the talents of the man known as “the Prince of Pop-Ups.” And – voila! – you’ve got a beautiful, unique holiday gift: “The Little Mermaid: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Fairy Tale,” created by Robert Sabuda.

Now this isn’t the kind of book you’d present to a young child, given the complex paper engineering that makes it come to life and the story’s rather bitter ending – not to mention the $29.99 price tag. But “The Little Mermaid” is, without question, a stunner of a pop-up book, and it makes a great gift for kids old enough to be careful with it, and maybe even interested in how Sabuda makes his magic happen.

As usual, Sabuda includes a large pop-up on each two-page spread, and then smaller pop-ups set into small booklets set into a corner on the spread. The final large pop-up, a scene of the prince’s marriage, is particularly memorable. Throughout the book, the strong black lines and jewel-tone watercolors of Sabuda’s artwork really bring alive the world of the story, which was, of course, originally written by that fairy tale master, Hans Christian Andersen.

To get a better sense of the pop-up mastery shown by Sabuda in “The Little Mermaid,” check out this video created by his publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Sabuda also has a great website. Here he shares directions for making pop-ups, like this seasonally appropriate snowman, as well as a link to the Movable Book Society  and recommendations for those looking for paper engineers. And for even more inspiration, take a look at this time-lapse video showing Sabuda creating a pop-up flower.

(Note: my review is based on a copy of “The Little Mermaid: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Fairy Tale” that was provided by Simon & Schuster for review purposes).

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