Mechanical book: What a Surprise

This book contains images that dissolve and transform into others to illustrate a series of fairy tales, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Ernest Nister, a German printer working in Nuremberg, developed several such movable books in the 1890s.

Written by Constance M. Lowe
Paper engineering by Ernest Nister
Published by Ernest Nister and E. P. Dutton & Co.
London, England, and New York, NY, ca. 1900
Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Z1033.T689 L69 1900

Wall Stories: Children's Wallpapers and Books
On view: October 3, 2008April 5, 2009

This exhibition will explore the relationship between wallpapers and books created for children through works from the permanent collection and the National Design Library. From their beginning in the 1870s, children's wallpapers have been strongly influenced by literature and popular culture. Works on view will include papers illustrated with nursery rhymes and designs inspired by works of fiction and adventure, such as Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella. The exhibition also will trace the evolution of children's books from instructional to fictional and include developments such as movable and pop-up books, which added an interactive element to children's reading.

Wall Stories: Childrens Wallpaper and Books is made possible in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency. Additional support is provided in part by Esme Usdan, Margery and Edgar Masinter, The Liman Foundation and The Walt Disney Company