Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Pop up Charlie

Eddie my younger son has a long history of sleeping with books. His first obsession was with Lucy Cousin's 'Hooray for Fish' to which I shall certainly give proper consideration at some point. He carried it around with him like a comfort blanket from about the age of 1 and snuggled up to it (along with his purple magnetic letter S -but that's another story) in bed. He now sleeps surrounded by a tower of books on all sides and I worry slightly that I will find him crushed one morning like the princess's pea under a layer of hardback picture books. He favours a weighty tome. I worry even more since my husband read a history of Chairman Mao which revealed that he had a specially constructed bed on a slant to cope with the weight and amount of books that he too liked to sleep with, but Eddie's similarity to Chairman Mao hopefully will end there...

His current obsession (he goes in for obsessions) is Roald Dahl and particularly a beautiful new pop up version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that I knew had his name on it as soon as I saw it in the bookshop. Quentin Blake in 3D! Hooray! Finally it is possible to almost literally (almost- mind) enter that chocolate factory and dive after Augustus Gloop into the river should you wish to.

Eddie holds the page open where the chocolate factory gates spring up to you and presses his nose up to them in much the same way as a starved Charlie Bucket. He also enjoys unwrapping a chocolate bar within and revealing his own golden ticket again and again.

The text is abridged but not to the point of desecration; obviously purists should have the original as well. The pop up tricks are fabulous; illustrations extending round the back of the book, and robust enough to cope with the treatment he has been meting out to it daily. My particular favourites are the pull tags with which you can help the bad children along to their fate, eg. rolling the violet Violet as giant blueberry along or tugging the appalling Veruca down the chute. Pulling them out makes the children disappear and reveals the Oompa Loompa's song of their downfall. Most satisfying.

The final page has the Great Glass Elevator shooting out the top of the book just like breaking through the factory roof. I hope they make the sequel now...but feel a frisson of fear at what those paper artists might do with the Vermicious Knids...

This was Eddie's choice to take into school on 'take a toy to school' day. It's also part of the bed tower...the highest accolade he can award.

I have just edited out photos I took where the smears of chocolate beetroot cake can be seen on the kitchen worksurface..but maybe I should have left them in for authenticity. Must clean kitchen worksurface now.

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Pop-Up Book' Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake and designed by The Story Works, pub. Puffin, isbn 978-0-141-32887-4


  1. Ellie has a lovely pop up edition of Alice In Wonderland from a very good friend of ours who enjoys sticking two fingers up to the digital world. 'Try doing that on your iPad', she sneers as we peer down the hole where Alice just fell. It's a beautiful book and almost impossible to work out how it was built.

  2. And you win the prize of an imaginary First Edition Celebration 'little wooden horse' bookmark as my first comment! Might even become real if I have a crafty moment... OMG as they say, I took delivery today of an astonishing pop up 'Peter Pan' which I bought in an executive decision for Eddie with some of his Christmas loot. It shall appear here at some point. fab. Although have to say some pretty splendid ipad book apps may also appear...

  3. Hi, I found your blog via Playing By The Book. At Living Paintings we run a free postal library to blind and partially sighted children & adults. We have lots of accessible picture books and topical packs including two image packs based around Roald Dahl Books. Please take a look at our website as it would be great if you could include accessible books in your reviews.
    Many thanks Sarah (Librarian) , www.livingpaintings.org

  4. Thank you- that sounds like a fantastic resource and project and I will certainly come and look. At the moment my reviews are just around what I'm pilfering from our own bookshelf- but I would like to widen my scope in the future and it's a good reminder.