BRUNSWICK— Pop-up books by their very nature are intended to surprise and delight.

They bring elements of animation and visual depth to what is normally a two-dimensional page, giving readers the added stimuli of motion, shadow and form.

Just such a diversion is unfolding at Bowdoin College’s Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, home of one of the larger collections of pop-up books in the country.

More than 150 books from the 1,800-volume Harold M. Goralnick Pop-up Book Collection are on display. Items range in date from the late 19th century to the present, and run the gamut from works by Andy Warhol to those depicting Fenway Park and R2-D2.

Because children’s responses are inherently immediate and uninhibited, pop-up features are particularly suited for children’s books. This is where they first appeared and where they continue to thrive in contemporary book publishing.

But increasingly complex paper engineering and technological advances in book production have broadened the application of pop-ups far beyond illustrating fairy tales and nursery rhymes.

Pop-up books for adults appear in a wide range of works — literature, erotica, political commentary, books about art and architecture, advertising and artists’ books.

Goralnick, of the Bowdoin College class of 1971, began acquiring pop-ups and other “movable” books in 1999. In 2008, he donated his collection to the college.

The collection contains editions by V. Kubasta and Julian Wehr, whose movable books from the 1950s and 1960s now command prices up to $500, and by such contemporary artists as David A. Carter, Robert Sabuda and Keith Moseley.

Most of the books have been published in the United States or Great Britain, but some, particularly fairy tales, also appear in German, French, Czech and Italian.

Bowdoin’s exhibition demonstrates the wide diversity of pop-up books, for children and for adults. Besides items from the Goralnick Collection, there are books from the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archive, which also celebrate pop-up engineering at its finest.

Bowdoin College’s Museum of Art is at 9400 College Station. For gallery hours and other information, call 725-3275, e-mail [email protected] or log on to www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum.

Neiman Marcus Pop Up Book (Dallas: Neiman Marcus, 2007).


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