These days there are scads of products that bust through the traditional boundary between kid’s stuff and grownup stuff. This trend no doubt has a lot to do with the rise of geek power, which celebrates the idea that you like what you like – and what you like is nobody’s business but your own. Whatever the cause, people are rediscovering the pleasures of their youth, and in many cases wondering why they ever stopped enjoying those things in the first place.
Pop up books are a great example. Much like graphic novels, there’s nothing intrinsically kid-like about these books that somehow makes them inappropriate for anyone who has gone through puberty. Indeed, a lot of paper engineering is so ingenious that only a mature mind can really appreciate it. Don’t believe me? Check out these eight amazing pop up books for adults.
1. The Pop Up Book of Nightmares
This 22-page pop up book by Gary Greenberg and Matthew Reinhart is a followup to the highly acclaimed (and now somewhat difficult to find). It illustrates many of the universal nightmares people have. Who hasn’t dreamed of falling from a great height, taking a test you forgot to prepare for, or trying to cook pancakes with fingers made of pickles as a band of homicidal puppets tries to break down your front door (okay, maybe that last one’s just me)? This book might help you cope better with some of these common nightmares – or it could create new ones. In any case, it’s a coffee table book that’s sure to get lots of comments.
2. The Pop Up Kama Sutra: Six Paper-Engineered Variations
The concept alone makes this naughty pop up book worth having. However, judging from the Amazon reviews, some customers are disappointed by the quality of the pop ups and the fact that the book only has excerpts from the original Indian sex manual. In other words, much like the crazy sexual contortions described in the book, it sounds better in theory. But what a theory! If you’re looking for an alternative along the same lines, check out The Pop Up Book of Sex.
3. America the Beautiful: A Pop-up Book
Inspired by America the Beautiful, this book by master paper engineer Robert Sabuda contains models of iconic American scenes – from the Golden Gate Bridge in the west, to the Statue of Liberty in the east. While kids can undoubtedly learn a few things about their country from this pop up book, it seems even more appropriate as a gift for patriotic adults.
4. Dracula: A Classic Pop-Up Tale
This pop up graphic novel offers an in-your-face (literally) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale. It’s not necessarily for uptight literature buffs, who might – might, I say – be turned off by the comic book style. However, graphic novel collectors, horror fans, and vampire freaks should thoroughly enjoy it.
At first glance, a pop up book featuring all the letters of the alphabet would seem ideal for the pre-Kindergarten set. Not so in the case of this amazing work by Marion Bataille. With the beautiful designs and impressive creativity on display in this book, you won’t want a destructive little kid to get anywhere near it.
6. M.C. Escher Pop-Ups
Even if they don’t know who M.C. Escher is (hint: not a rapper), most people have seen his mind-bending artwork on posters and the internet. The Dutch graphic artist is famous for creating weird scenes that play with the viewer’s expectations and sense of perspective. In a way, a pop up book like this one is the perfect medium for checking out these strange designs.
7. The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Pop-Up Book for Adults Only
This is one of those wonderful books that doesn’t fit into any of the typical classifications. It’s essentially a Victorian sex book – with pop ups. It’s both a cute, unthreatening book for couples looking to improve their love life, and a sheer delight for those who just appreciate unusual books.
8. Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy
This giant Star Wars tome is an irresistible pop up book for both kids and adults. Parents who enjoyed the movies growing up will have fun revisiting many of the classic scenes and characters with their own children. However, anyone who loves Wookies or paper engineering is bound to get a kick out of the inventive pop ups in this awesomely executed book.