I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and there was a display by the kids’ play table of two pop up books: one about dinosaurs and one about sharks. The covers are hard but slightly padded and they had a kind of old fashioned illustrated look to them. The interior featured wonderful 3D imagery with each page featuring one large pop up and several small ones at the outside corners of each page. I was sure that these books were $60 or more but instead, they sold for under $20. It seemed like a bargain to me and it is. The production costs are 2-3 times that of an average book . The tot isn’t quite old enough for these but I was tempted to buy them and save them for when she is.
The Wall Street Journal had a write up about these books in today’s online journal. The original publisher of these pop up books on steroids was Candlewick Press and it began with Dragonology in 2003. The series has sold more than six million copies and the publishers, both Candlewick and the imitators, refer to the books as “ology”.
One frustrating thing I noted in the WSJ article was that the publisher deems these books to be male oriented and they are creating female oriented books such as “Fairyopolis”, a diary of sorts that chronicles a girl’s search for fairies in the flowers. My girl likes dinosaurs. I’m guessing she would stomp on the Fairyopolis book. While I applaud the efforts of publishers to draw in the “reluctant reader” through these beautifully constructed books, I am a bit irked at the continued efforts of manufacturers to foster a gender divide. I think that these are great kids’ books, no matter what the gender.