Brain Pickings

David Carter’s Pop-Up Books for Children of All Ages


Given my spot for all things pop-up and unrelenting belief in lifelong childhood, I absolutely adore David Carter’s wonderful series of pop-up books for children of all ages.

One Red Dot is a graphically ambitous gem that invites you to find one red dot hidden in each of 18 paper sculptures.

One Red Dot pop-up book

One Red Dot pop-up book

Blue 2 pairs Carter’s tenderly architectural paper sculptures fragmented text stringing together words in alphabetical order, asking the reader to look for a hidden “Blue-2″ on each of nine stunning spreads. Though arguably far too abstract for the recommended 4-8 age range, with vocabulary that might make even an MBA stumble, the book is so aesthetically mesmerizing that it sparks a visceral, intuitive understanding of the words.

Blue 2 pop-up book

600 Black Spots is another brilliant scavenger hunt of a pop-up, spanning across 20 gloriously engineered, endlessly entertaining pages to hide — and invite you to seek — 600 black dots.

600 Black Spots pop-up book

Yellow Square takes Carter’s signature paper sculptures to a new level by incorporating unusual, unexpected found materials like yarn, netting, and beautiful translucent waxy paper. A yellow square is hidden on each marvelously engineered page, tucked between stunning illustrations in primary colors that invite you to probe and interact, inevitably extracting a well-deserved “wow.”

White Noise is Carter’s latest gem, concluding his phenomenal series with an interactive pop-up book that plays with multiple senses: Touching, seeing and, now, hearing. Vibrant and poetic as ever, his beautifully engineered paper creations are accompanied by subtle yet rich sound effects produced as you touch the sculptural marvels — an absolute sensory treat, whether you’re 4 or 104.

White Noise pop-up book

White Noise pop-up book

Playful and poetic, Carter’s books are a three-dimensional manifesto for perpetual curiosity and the eternal child within.

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