Almost all kids love pop-up books, and pop-up books about animals are sure to be a hit. “Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures” by Arnaud Roi and illustrated by Charlotte Molas and “The Pop-up Guide: Animals” by Maud Poulain and Peggy Nille are two picture books that entranced my six-year-old grandson, and he did think that his two-year-old sister would love the one about animals.
“Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures” is one of the many dinosaur books that I marvel over. There are so many dinosaurs that I don’t recognize, like the Argentinosaurus which was a huge plant-eating creature with a giraffe-like neck. Like some birds do today, this dinosaur ate rocks to help grind food. And while many of the included dinosaurs are new to me, I was relieved to see some that I learned about as a child: Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops. A fascinating pterosaur (a flying reptile) is the Quetzalcoatlus, a huge flying reptile with a 39-foot wingspan. It was named after the mythical Aztec feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. Each pop-up page is dedicated to one dinosaur, and the illustrations are rather monochrome. The illustrations on each page show the animals in their habitats. Each page also lists information about each animal: the period in which the dinosaurs (or other creatures) lived, the region, their maximum size, and their maximum weight. Also included on every page is a paragraph describing what makes a particular creature unique. While young children will enjoy seeing the dinosaurs, even slightly older children in primary grades will like reading about the animals and learning new information.
“The Pop-up Guide: Animals” is a book for younger children. Each pop-up page features the animals from different biomes. The only biome that is specifically situated is the African savanna. The Forest, for example, might be a forest in the US or in Europe or other parts of the world. The Far North could be Canada or Northern Europe. Because of its intended audience, the information is rather simplistic. The Backyard, for example, includes animals that would not be found in a backyard in the Arizona desert or even in Illinois. While rabbits and ants and butterflies are ubiquitous pretty much on every continent, in my home state of Illinois, we do not get lizards in our backyards. But in terms of a cleverly designed pop-up book that young kids will really like looking at, this book would be a good choice for teaching young ones about animals and their names and even where they live. The paper is fairly sturdy and should last so long as chubby hands are taught to turn the pages carefully.
Pop-up books are special. They take extra care to create, and they hold a young child’s interest because of the 3-D nature of the illustrations. These two books would make a thoughtful gift for any young people on your holiday shopping list or for a birthday present. As a retired teacher, I think every occasion calls for a gift of a book!
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by Twirl Books, the publisher, for review purposes.