Books Picture Books

[Saturday Reads] Do You Read Pop-Up Books? Check Out “The Small World of Paper Toys”


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


The Small World of Paper Toys

Created by: Gerard Lo Monaco
Published by: Little Gestalten, Berlin, 2015
Review copy sent by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

I have never had much encounter with pop-up books even as a child, but I have always admired the feat of engineering that accompanies its seemingly 3-d aspect. The Small World of Paper Toys is such an accomplishment as Gerard Lo Monaco made use of blank spaces, carefully-chosen typography, and only a few catchy lines that would make this an easy read for young readers who would most likely beg their mothers to read this book again and again and again.

The colors, I sensed, are likewise deliberately selected with primary colors standing out against a backdrop of white allowing the eyes to rest – whoever designed the book layout is an experienced graphic designer. I appreciated the purposiveness in how the objects are put together – there is intelligent discipline here, but also a degree of childlike exuberance with the tractor and the noise its motor makes or the clic clic of the mechanical boat as it navigates around the white canvas.


These lively lumberjacks are my favourite, perhaps because of how they are juxtaposed against the backdrop of the trees behind them.


I especially liked this one as well with Monaco playing around with visual elements, making the 3-d elephant interact with the inert unidimensional elephant rider who fell down on the ground.

This is a gorgeous pop-up book that kids would enjoy reading and examining closely.

Do you read pop-up books, fellow readers? What are some of your favourites?

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Saturday Reads] Do You Read Pop-Up Books? Check Out “The Small World of Paper Toys”

  1. Glad to see some love for pop-up books here! 🙂 David Carter’s bug pop-up books were a huge hit in my house. Other favorites: Robert Sabuda’s Alice in Wonderland (& Cookie Count) and Sam Ita’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


  2. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Love for Adventure And What It Means to Leave Home To Find One’s Own in Picturebooks – Gathering Books

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