In the 1930s, Blue Ribbon Books and Pleasure Books, who published a series of colorful pop-up books including The Pop-up Pinocchio, were the first to coin the phrase “pop-up book”. In a five year period, they produced more than ten remarkable pop-up books on classic fairy tales including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack the Giant Killer, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood. Each of these titles featured large print text, thick board paper, colorful cartoon-like images and well constructed pop-ups that greatly appeal to children of all ages.

Originally created as a series for an Italian newspaper by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890) in the 1880s, the classic fairytale of Pinocchio was soon published into a book, translated in many languages, appeared in many illustrated editions in the early 20th century, and later a feature in a Disney animated film in 1940. In this story, an elderly wood carver named Geppetto creates a puppet named Pinocchio who yearns to be a real boy. Pinocchio has many adventures in his journey to become human. He grapples with the challenges of becoming a well behaved child facing the visible stigma of having his nose grow each time he does not tell the truth.

The art work and pop-up constructions for The Pop-up Pinocchio are the creation of Harold B. Lentz who also designed similar works including the Pop-up Mother GooseSleeping Beauty, and Jack the Giant Killer. Lentz was a talented graphic designer. He skillfully incorporates whimsical drawings throughout this book to illustrate this delightful fairytale as well as creating its colorful endpapers and cover. The four pop-ups –one with the figure of Pinocchio reading, one with a circus scene, one of Pinocchio’s house, and one of a whale –  employ v-fold and box-cylinder paper construction methods on each two-page spread. To see a video on the pop-ups in this book follow this link.

The colorful pop-ups, no doubt inspired by imagery found in cartoon/comic books, dramatically rise off the surface as the page is turned greatly enhancing the enjoyment of reading this book. To tell the truth, it is one of my favorite pop-up books!

Leave a Reply