Lewis Carroll, J. Otto Seibold, . . Scholastic/Orchard, $19.95 (6pp) ISBN 978-0-439-41184-4

Seibold's (Gluey: A Snail Tale) paper-engineered Alice does not match the gracefulness of Robert Sabuda's (reviewed above). It begins briskly, with Alice spying the White Rabbit, but soon reveals its shortcomings as a pop-up. The rabbit, for instance, printed on a bent flap, lies almost flush with the ground. Throughout the book's seven tableaux, the paper architecture does not unfold smoothly, requiring manual assistance that reduces the book's shelf life and the pleasure of playing with it. Unfortunately, Lewis Carroll's story is so condensed that some of the visual details (references to Alice's "sea of tears" and the "fish-footman") appear from nowhere; Carroll's original might have nonsensical turns, but its plot is coherent, whereas this narrative may well be befuddling to those unfamiliar with the tale. Yet where this book is lacking in sleek engineering and storytelling, it does offer avant-garde aesthetics. The text is hand-lettered in Seibold's signature multicolored script, and the images are styled in his minor-key palette of olive drab, blue gray, brick red, plum and white. Pull-tabs welcome reader participation, and some reveal themselves only on rereadings. Among the best effects is a Cheshire Cat whose smile is printed on a clear plastic window; when someone tugs the tab, a smoky piece of plastic descends, obscuring the Cat but leaving its grin. Seibold's funny, non-moveable books, such as the Mr. Lunch series, better convey the illusion of action and excitement. All ages. (Oct.)