Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD April Fooled Part 3 & (78) ARTSY Artists’ Books–Pop Ups Part 2 of 2

JEAN SHEPHERD April Fooled Part 3 & (78) ARTSY Artists’ Books–Pop Ups Part 2 of 2


How come I didn’t get a valentine from Patty Remaley?  The only one I got was from Helen Weathers and she’d said, “Before I give you this valentine, you have to promise to give me one.”  So we exchanged valentines.  The only girl who gave me a valentine. I was the only boy who gave Helen Weathers a valentine, too.  So we weren’t shut out—skunked-out—entirely.

I’m sitting way back there in the alphabetical ghetto of the classroom where the Schwartzs and the Shepherds are, and I am about to be euchred.  I remember to this day, it said, “Dear Jean.  Holy smokes, am I in love with you!  You are an incredible, fantastic human being.  And the way you make that slide into third is incredible.”  Signed, “Patty Remaley.”

Here’s what kind of symbol Patty Remaley was.  First of all, Patty Remaley was rich.  Patty Remale didn’t have an ordinary walking-around family.  Patty Remaley only came to the Warren G. Harding School because her parents felt that she should know something about the hoi polloi.  And we were the hoi polloi.  She was studying us like bugs.  And she did not take part in our little bug-like games under any circumstances.

She was so remote that, as far as my knowledge is concerned, Patty Remaley never attended any kid parties.  We had these parties where me and Schwartz and Helen Weathers and Esther Jane Albery played spin the bottle.  Whoever it pointed to they had to kiss.  That was the whole point.  It was awful being kissed by Schwartz.  You just can’t trust a Borden milk bottle.  Patty Remaley would never get stuck in a spin-the-bottle game with me and Schwartz and Flick.  She never even said anything to us, not even “hello.”  Patty never said things like “Get out of my way.”  She just walked through the halls, this magnificent blonde image.  This glorious nymph, deep in the heart of a forest of erotic desires such as we knew her at the time.




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A current master of the pop-up form is Robert Sabuda, who has designed and published dozens of pop-up books. He is constantly complex, clever, and elegant. Possibly his best-known single image is at the end of his Alice in Wonderland, in which the deck of cards flies through the air.


Sabuda’a Alice above. Dinosaurs below

showing 4 side flaps, which reveal more pop-ups.


One of my great favorites is Michael Foreman’s Ben’s Box, a seemingly minor, fairly small and slim volume. I especially admire it because of its self-reference-to-its-medium, contrasting its flat pages with dimensional ones–it uses the contrast between the mother’s prosaic real life (flat pages), with the boy’s fantasy (pop-up movement, dimension, and even sound.) The mother gets a washing machine in a big cardboard box. Mother is involved with the work-a-day machine and Ben creates his imaginary world with the box. The illustrations on the mother’s page-openings are flat. Ben’s imaginary world of the box is pop-up-dimensional and full of movement—and, in its exuberance, beyond adequately depicting here. I show the bland, flat image of the machine’s arrival.


Almost all pop-up books illustrate real objects or ideas, but David Carter’s pop-ups are pure abstraction. He artfully plays with the medium. Taking the medium and expressing the pure joy of its seemingly magical explosions into three dimensions.


I could go on for hours, just illustrating the variety of ideas and paper-engineering techniques—including even paper-created sounds made from the opening of the pages. For example, in a book on desert creatures, upon opening the page showing a rattlesnake, one hears the rattling—created by hidden paper in zig-zag cut, a separate stiff paper with its edge moving over the zigs, creating the sound.

I have dozens, and I’m constantly amazed that such complex dimensional figures, when slowly collapsed, enfold back into each other and close into a (usually bulging) flat book.

Some simple, older pop-ups are found in a few books

hundreds of years old,

simple shapes rising up, showing some scientific principle.

All good pop-ups are adventures–into the book-world

 of paper engineering–into joyous wonders.




1 Comment

  1. Sheer glory of expression here! The words are choice and so to the point. In so few paragraphs a picture is painted. Shep always said he was trying to do something new, beyond writing. He would euchre reality.

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