One doesn’t usually use the words pop-up book and paperback in the same sentence, but that’s exactly what paper-engineering maestro Matthew Reinhart and Robin Corey are doing. On August 7, Random House’s Robin Corey Books will publish two 8x8 paperback pop-ups – A Princess Like Me: A Royal Pop-Up and Rumble! Roar! Dinosaurs!: A Prehistoric Pop-Up – featuring a variety of pop-ups, pull-tabs, and moving parts, and a $6.99 cover price. The two books follow Reinhart’s Rescue: Pop-Up Emergency Vehicles and Puppies, Kittens, and Other Pop-Up Pets, released last fall.
“Our production department worked very hard to get us very good pricing on these paperback pop-ups so that we could sell them for $6.99,” explains Corey, v-p and publisher of Robin Corey Books. “With the economy, the shrinking retail marketplace, and rising manufacturing prices in China, it was a challenge to pull it all off, but we knew it was important to keep the retail price low. And for Matthew to pack so many pop-ups into these books at that price was really amazing. He was working with limited specs, and it’s another feather in his cap that he did such a fantastic job.”
Creating these books was a gratifying change for Reinhart. “In the last few years, I’ve done some huge pop-up books, which can be completely exhausting,” he says. “So it was refreshing to do something short and sweet. I have a three-year-old niece who loves my bigger books, but I wanted to make something small for her hands – something she can play with and carry around. It’s great to be able to do pop-ups for very young readers at such a good price point.”
Though the author maintains that he enjoys “design restrictions,” clearly these 12-page paperbacks presented a challenge – albeit a welcome one. “With limited specs, I was only allowed a certain amount of paper and a certain number of glue points in order to work with the manufacturer to make the price point work,” he says. “My challenge was to work within those restrictions to make the book fun and playable. It was actually kind of a blast and somewhat freeing, since I’m usually trying to do more spectacular, heavy-duty paper engineering. At the same time, thinking simply is at times more difficult.”
Reinhart, who has created licensed pop-up books, including those tied to the Star Wars and DC Comics brands, also relished the chance to do generic books featuring his own characters. “I do like working with different licensed characters – it’s always an honor to work with characters I loved from my childhood – but as an artist, I also think it’s great to be able to create my own characters,” he says. “It was fun to work on A Princess Like Me and Rumble! Roar! Dinosaurs! together, since I liked switching back and forth between the two. I’ve wanted to do a princess book forever, and I love dinosaurs – the idea of doing a book about them was bumping around my head for years.”
The talented paper engineer hopes to have the chance to add more paperback pop-ups to this series in the future, and is gearing up for a busy fall. Orchard will publish his second Star Wars pop-up, Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure, in October. And he has a “big secret project” in the works about which he’ll disclose few details. “It’s a project dear to my heart and one that has challenged me with the engineering more than anything in the past,” he says. “It is super cool, and when I finally can announce it, no one will be surprised that I am involved.”
A Princess Like Me: A Royal Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart. Random/Robin Corey Books, $6.99 paper Aug. ISBN 978-0-307-97644-4
Rumble! Roar! Dinosaurs!: A Prehistoric Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart. Random/Robin Corey Books, $6.99 paper Aug. ISBN 978-0-307-97643-7