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Some people think pop-up books are too good for children. They are elaborate and they are delicate. In many respects, they are ‘engineered’ rather than designed. Take One Red Dot by David A Carter, who is one of the leading lights among paper engineers, for example.
Branded as a pop-up book for children of all ages, One Red Dot has a complex piece of art on each of the 10 spreads. The yellow and red cover catches the eye and then the rising artwork takes over – a puzzling box, twisting twirling gigs, burning baskets, flip-flop flaps, wiggle-wobble widgets, fluttering flicker clickers, obedient orbs which is probably the best spread, nimble nines and finally coiling curly cues. Each sculpture hides a single red dot.
Red, black, yellow, white and blue abound in vivid brightness but the actual pop-up mechanisms are extremely complicated and fascinating. About One Red Dot, he told an interviewer at Powells: “With this book, I want you to touch the art.”
Carter, who hails from California, is the author or illustrator of more than 70 pop-up books and he’s acclaimed for his use of color, shape and surfaces. Some call him the king of the pop-ups. Blue 2 and 600 Black Spots are another two pop-up books that might appeal to adults as well as children.
He is best known for How Many Bugs in a Box? – an insect-themed book for preschoolers published in 1987. He followed it up with More Bugs in Boxes in 1990. There have also been Giggle Bugs: A Lift-and-Laugh Book, The Twelve Bugs of Christmas: A Pop-Up Christmas Counting Book and Easter Bugs: A Springtime Pop-Up.
His 1989 book for preschoolers, What's in My Pocket?, uses five animals whose heads rise as the pages are turned. Flapdoodle Dinosaurs: A Colorful Pop-Up Book puts dinosaurs in a modern setting. Who Took the Cookie From the Cookie Jar? is another gem not to be missed.
If you want to learn more about being a paper engineer, check out Carter’s book, Elements Of Pop Up: A Pop Up Book For Aspiring Paper Engineers, which he co-wrote with James Diaz. Apparently pop-up books have been around for 700 years.
One Red Dot by David A. Carter
One perplexing puzzle box and one red dot.
The perplexing puzzle box up close.
Three burning baskets and one red dot.
Four flip-flop flaps and one red dot.
Six fluttering flicker clickers and one red dot.
Seven bouncing blue spots and one red dot.
Eight obedient orbs and one red dot.
A closer look at eight obedient orbs
Nine nimble nines and one red dot.