500 years of interactive books (and no iPads) at the University of Rochester

Another exhibition for our East Coast readers: Springing to Life: Movable Books & Mechanical Devices at the University of Rochester.

Interactive books long-predate the LCD screen, and this exhibition features over 50 examples of pop-up, pull-tab, lift-flap, spin-dial papier-mechanical ingenuity from the past 500 years. In the video below, curator Leah Hamilton introduces the exhibition and demonstrates some of the items on display. Robert Sabuda’s Alice pop-up features prominently as does work by Kubasta, who created the wonderful pop-up Alice published in 1960.

The exhibition is being held University of Rochester, Rare Books and Special Collections, Rush Rhees Library from January 23 to August 17, 2012. Call (585) 275-4477 for exhibition hours.



This sweet fantasia on the theme of digital readers was sent to us by Adriana Peliano of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil. It was created by Irina Neustroeva. The embedded version below is smaller than the original upload to Vimeo.com.

DRINKme-EATme-READme from Irina Neustroeva on Vimeo.


New Pop-up: Il était une fois…

"Eat Me, Drink Me" by Benjamin Lacombe

Eight classical tales evoked by a double page with ingenious mechanism, in a magnificent book which associates technical exploit and artistic talent. Find the characters of the most famous tales: Alice, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty , Blue Beard, Peter Pan, The Little Red Riding Hood, Mrs butterfly , Poucette staged by Benjamin Lacombe and in volume by José Pons. At the end of the book, Jean Perrot’s point of view, an expert of the tales and the youth image, will come to light the work.

Folow the White Rabbit….

More informations here :

– from the blurb on YouTube, and what a high-class trailer this book has!


The Future of Alice Books, Part II of an Infinite Part Series

Image from Atomic Antelope's Alice iPad app

There’s more discussion on the Alice pop-up book app for the iPad (originally mentioned here in the post Through the LED Screen). The Atomic Antelope app ($9, or a free demo) is the original Carroll text with interactive animated illustrations based on Tenniel. Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy is ruminating on all of this over at the Guardian this week.

…But this is nothing compared to Alice for the iPad. You can throw tarts at the Queen of Hearts, help the Caterpillar smoke his hookah pipe, make Alice grow as big as a house and then shrink again. You can watch as “the Mad Hatter gets even madder”, and throw pepper at the Duchess. Over the 52 pages of the app there are 20 animated scenes. Each illustration has been taken from the original book and has been made gravity-aware, responding to a shake, tilt or the touch of a finger. The story is never the same twice, because users are Alice’s guide through Wonderland. The Caterpillar will smoke his hookah in a new way when you tilt your iPad, or you can throw more pepper the second time around.

continue reading…


Through the LED screen

Alice fans and collectors tend to like real books – crisp, dusty, or yellowing, and preferably with pictures and conversations. Whilst reports of the death of print media have been greatly exaggerated, the iPad is the next big test of whether tablet technology can thrive in the mainstream, resurrect the glossy magazines, bring down the price and weight of textbooks, and broaden everyone’s access to rare books.

Even if digital readers sound horrible to you, it’s difficult to deny that this new Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland digital pop-up book for the iPad is fascinating. It looks like it successfully balances a functional reading experience with eye-popping fun. Is it any surprise the revolutionary app designers at Atomic Antelope chose Carroll’s story? (Look, their website has Tenniel illustations in its masthead!) This year has also seen the classic Alice tale tapped for the new 3D movie technology, but this is the actual Carroll text and Tenniel being used to demonstrate what a 21st Century digital interactive children’s book might start to look like.

There’s a sample version for free at the iStore and the full version sells for $9. Here’s the raving from the geeks at Gizmodo:

I keep twisting and turning my iPad with childlike wonder while reading the familiar tale of the adventures of a girl named Alice. For the first time in my life, I’m blown away by an interactive book design.

Alice for the iPad is a cute app which contains a slightly interactive version of a beloved story. It’s not interactive to the point of annoyance and tackiness, but instead full of clever little touches like mushrooms that you can toss around a room with a twist of your iPad or an Alice who grows and shrinks as you move your gadget around.

[…] And while it doesn’t seem to be intended for adults, I couldn’t be more fascinated by it. It’s quite possible the cleverest book I’ve seen so far and exactly how I dreamed books would look one day.


Alice Pop-Up Book shown on The Simpsons

The Simposons, Season 21, Episode 8, which premiered a few Sundays ago, featured Lisa reading an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland pop-up book to her baby sister Maggie. (It begins at 5:34 in the episode embedded above, available for a limited time from hulu.com.) I’ve got a half dozen AAIW pop-ups open in front of me to figure out which one the fabulous animation from The Simpsons was inspired from, but it seems to be their own creation using Simpsons-esque versions of the Tenniel illustrations. Is this right? (If you do not own any Alice pop-ups, I recommend the breathtaking version by Robert Sabuda, available here on amazon.com, & shown in the youtube below.)