Pierre the Maze Detective

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Whenever I buy books, an important consideration is how good a book will look on my shelf, and I mean that in the literal sense: I like pretty books. This makes for a lot of impulsive shopping as I’m bound to pick up random books that catch my eye, but I’ve never regretted buying a book for its sheer physical beauty.

Such was the case when I had to buy some art supplies a couple of weeks ago, I had meant to pick up a watercolor pad and some new drawing pencils (in my attempts to wring out my creative juices) and I happened to wander to the art books section (erm, yeah, two floors down, but whatever…) and wham! I spotted a lovely, picture book called “Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone.

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Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros

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Ever since it was announced on Matthew Reinhart’s Facebook page, “Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros” has been an exercise in EQ (of the “Shut up and take my money!” sort), so when I finally saw it today at the bookstore, I was powerless to resist.

Paper engineered by Matthew Reinhart, with illustrations by Michael Komark, this deluxe pop-up book is an incredible volume that  takes the reader through Westeros and beyond, featuring five spreads of key locations in the series and over thirty smaller pop-ups, folding out into a 46″x30″ map of the kingdom.

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The Insult and Curse Book

I love books filled with useless bits of information, so I was ecstatic to find  Weird Wills and Eccentric Last Wishes from a bargain bin, and I set about to collecting the rest of Michelle Lovric’s trivia books. So far, I’ve gotten Deadlier than the Male,How to Insult, Abuse and Insinuate in Classical Latin and Eccentric Epitaphs.

The latest addition to my Michelle Lovric collection is The Insult and Curse Book, a compilation of colorful statements that will probably come in handy whenever I’m in a bad mood.

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Halloween Roundup!

Halloween’s coming up, so I’ve been pulling down the scary reads from my TBR shelves. I’ve been alternating novels and picture books since the month started (and Pillars of the Earth in between!), and I’m having a lot of fun scaring myself with these Superhero costumes.

Here’s a (mostly) picture book roundup, with the following books: Faust, The Dark Goodbye, The Diary of Victor Frankenstein, Les Fantomes a la Cave, The Book that Eats People, The Wolves in the Walls, Kate Culhane: A Ghost Story, Eccentric Epitaphs, and The Canterville Ghost, books #139-147 for 2010.

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Pixie Hollow Pop-up

I’ve been oh-so-slowly building up my collection of pop-up books because elaborate paper engineering is fascinating, but the books are so expensive that I rarely get a chance to acquire them (er, translation: never full price; mostly chance finds at bargain stores, and not brand new).
Pixie Hollow Pop-up (book #64 of 2009) is the latest addition to my small pop-up collection, composed of Pirateology, Vampyre, Mommy?, Dr. Seuss Pops Up, and Alice in Wonderland Pop-up.

I’m not a big fan of fairies or pixies because I find them capricious and not very likeable, but Triccie knew I just started collecting (her own collection is amazing!) and she had an extra copy so she reserved it for me for mooching (gosh, a lot of my prize finds are from Triccie!!!)

Storywise, Pixie Hollow Pop-up is typical Disney – fairy fluff, and very few words in total, but it’s a good example of the recent trend of fairly complex pop-up books (and other children’s novelty items) in the mainstream.

I guess it’s also a sign of the times that it takes so much more to hold a young reader’s attention these days, but even as an adult (and an illustrator), it’s hard to resist the visual appeal. Of course the costs of producing such a complex structure are equivalent to hefty price tag, but the craftsmanship is just amazing, although it’s not as artsy and is more commercial than Robert Sabuda’s books.

I remember the pop-ups when I was younger: mainly flat, 2 dimensional layers that moved from left to right or up and down, or had little surprises when you pulled the tab or lifted the flap.

Now they’re like paper sculptures that fold completely flat but come alive as you turn the page, literary popping out of the book. Now that’s pop-up!


Of course the grand dream for the Filipino children’s illustrator (i.e. me) is that publishers would invest in producing novelty books for kids, but the market is just too small and the purchasing power too weak, so I guess it will still be some time before we see any of them out. Jomike’s Dinosaur pop-up book is a good start, though.

I know our local publishers would like nothing more than to come up with the best books for kids that they possibly can, but the practicality of keeping the books affordable for the average Filipino is a big factor. Our local children’s books more than make up for it in content, with high quality (and bilingual!) stories and illustrations, though, and I’m glad that the local children’s books industry has grown the way it has over the years.

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My copy: hardbound, mooched from Triccie

My rating: 4/5 stars

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