Remember when we thought books were just pages of print and images bound into a handy cover?
Happily, many books are still just that, and we love them for it, but there are some new kids on the block when it comes to enjoying books for more than just the reading.
I’m not talking about electronic books here. I’m talking about the real deal – the ones you can buy in a bookstore and take home to display in your bookshelf.
Books can be interactive, textured, play music, have clever pockets that contain all sorts of treasures and some can open up to reveal stunning 3D images.
Pop-up Computer Book - Image courtesy of flickr.com
While interactive books are not a new concept (the first known one was way back in the thirteenth century) they are becoming more intricate and sophisticated with time.
In an article written by Iona and Peter Opie in 1975 they observed, ‘Mechanical (or moveable) books should look like ordinary books. Their success is to be measured by the ingenuity with which their bookish format conceals unbookish characteristics.’
I have several books like this and one of my favourites was written – or should I say created – in1995 by a woman named Francesca Crespi. It is titled ‘A Walk in Monet’s Garden’ and contains a magnificent fold-out representation of the Garden, with every fine detail included.
Looks like a regular book...
Inside holds a surprise.
I also have a large tome entitled ‘The Treasures of Monet that was created by Andre Deutsch and published in 2007. As well as a detailed account of Monet’s life, it also contains copies of letters, notes, drawings, an exhibition poster, and even his birth and marriage certificates. (You may have guessed by now that I’m a fan of Monet.)
A glimpse into the life of Claude Monet
I have a beautiful creation bought especially for my grandchildren to enjoy that looks like a book but is actually a doll’s house in disguise. It’s called ‘My Very Own Playhouse’ and is a Book Company publication from back in 1993.
While electronic books have their merits and I’m all for progress, there is something a bit magical about a tangible book that you can take down from the shelf and explore – especially one that is full of surprises.