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The Original French Version Here


The development, in children’s publications, of ‘movable books’, otherwise known as ‘pop-up books’, has over the past years constituted a notable part of this sector. More and more numerous, these books, of exceptional fabrication, stirring admiration, are also more and more sophisticated and diversified.


The almost prophetic announcements foreseeing the end of paper books since the arrival of digital books have without a doubt played a role in this growth of production. Feeling threatened, traditional publishers would play ‘on their terrain’ and would in this way exhibit multiple fineries of paper. Spectacular, bursting with surprises, it is true that these books achieve a great success among readers who appreciate, from an early age, the masterful skills of paper engineering and the ingenuity of movable books.


Likewise, traditional picturebooks have been welcoming more and more frequently technical resorts borrowed from movable books. One can no longer count the pop-ups shooting up from a peaceful narrative picturebook, or the unexpected cut-outs at the heart of a wise tale in two dimensions. Folding and unfolding, cut-outs and embossing, have now come to add to the wide range of illustrators’ techniques.

And like all techniques, these systems – that have, however, the particularity of being managed from the printing phase – come as a contributution to a comment, an expression, even a tale, and are not of worth in and of themselves. This is the major difference between spectacular movable books and picturebooks making use of systems.


Many of the books adressed to small children resort notably to cut-outs. The influence of Bruno Munari, as that of Tana Hoban, has been major in this domain. Whether it be dynamic superimpositions generated by colored paper cut-outs of the first artist, or focal games offered by ‘flaps’ arranged at the heart of a succession of photos for the second one, contemporary creators do not tire in reinventing the supplies of these systems, as simple as they are effective.


Through the manipulation that they involve, by the learning to see that they kindle, the systems that integrate picturebooks induce a unique connection to books. The reader intervenes, transforms and makes the presentation evolve on the double page and interacts with the book. In lifting a flap, in observing a detail through a cut-out, the young reader carries out an essential gesture of transformation.


This interactive logic paradoxically brings us back to digital books.


Instead of opposing themselves to screens, we can see that these books make use of resources that have much more in common with digital practice than one could imagine.


Games, surprise and wonder are dynamics shared nowadays between digital and paper books. Far from being in contradiction with one another, these different mediums complement and enrich each other, offering children a wide range of discoveries, learning and amazement.



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