It’s official, there’s a new iPad meme and it’s PopUp Books. The emergence of the meme began with the Alice in Wonderland masterpiece. That work wasn’t so much of an explicit popup book, but it made you feel like you were experiencing a delightful tangible physical object. It reminded you of the feeling of surprise and wonder that you had when opening a popup book as a kid – to discover a hidden world within the pages. Atomic Antelope, the creator of the book, started a snowball.

Now, there are a handful of imitators – most also using public domain illustrated kids’ books:

Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book – iPad Book Review – Thumbs Up

PopOut, The Tale of Peter Rabbit – iPad Book Review – Thumbs Up

PopOut, The Night Before Christmas – iPad Book Review – Thumbs Up


Bauble – An Unusual Review – Thumbs Up

The Little Mermaid and Other Stories by H. C. Andersen (review coming soon)

Grimm’s Rapunzel – 3D Interactive Pop-up Book (review coming soon. looks crappy)

Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin – 3D Interactive Pop-up Book (review coming soon. looks really crappy)

We might now say that these are “In the Tradition of Alice.” And these latter books have become very explicit about their “popup-ness.” Three Little Pigs shows the behind the scene “mechanics” of the popup systems. The PopOut series features traditional looking “tabs” that pull characters from their hiding places – and spinning wheels that turn characters around an imaginary gear work.

I, for one, am thankful for the imitators because, so far, they’ve done a pretty fantastic job across the board. These works are imaginative, detailed, and joyous works of art. They’re taking narrative into a new dimension. Sure, you might say that some of the conventions may get old (like the character jiggle or jar that bounces with gravity against the edges of the screen), but each work has made fine use of the iPad as a storytelling device. They’ve used the platform to enhance these classic stories in a way that can *only* be told on the iPad.

Many of the other iPad kids’ books that I’ve reviewed turned out to be nothing more than unimaginative ports of existing stories to iPad. All very well if you’re looking to lighten the load of kids’s books in your suitcase. But if you’re not buying iPad books on the basis of poundage, you may want to buy on the basis of artistic merit. I’m very much looking forward to tracking how this trend evolves.

Here’s a smattering of screenshots from these works.

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