Thursday, August 25, 2011

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons & Monsters

If you are lucky enough to have one of Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda's books fall into your hands, odds are your first word will be "WOW!" Then your mouth will fall open and just hang there while you turn the pages, as you had no idea that a pop-up book could look like this. Reinhart and Sabuda are like the rock stars of the pop up world, creating the most amazing books. This is the final volume in the Encyclopedia Mythologica trilogy series, preceded by Gods and Heroes, and Fairies and Magical Creatures

Even though I know what to expect when I open one of these, I am still astounded when a new one is released. Each page features one enormous pop-up in the center of the page, with smaller booklets in the corners. Medusa rears her ugly head on page one, with fanged green snakes rearing every which way. Two pages later, a dragon erupts, tubes of bright red crepe paper forming his tubular body. Other main events: a vampire rising from his coffin, Bigfoot hiding behind a tree, a fearsome winged dragon, and a kraken attacking an unlucky ship.
Although there are technically only six pages, there is so much information (and paper!) tucked into each, that the book measures three inches thick. The booklets in the corners provide written information paired with smaller pop-ups. I like that these have tiny tabbed corners that hold them closed, so the pages stay nice and neat until the reader is ready to release them. 

Yes, the books in the Encyclopedia Mythologica series cost a bit more than the average hardcover children's book, but they are worth every single penny. This is art, engineering, and creativity all tucked up into a neat package. Although the video below shows each page, it honestly does not do the book justice. Leafing through a physical own copy is far more impressive.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.

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