Once kids can look at 3D pop up books without bending the paper art, introduce them to these best pop up books — that they won’t want to put down!
All kids and many of us big-kids (adults) love pop up picture books. The beautiful illustrations in three dimensions astonish us when we turn the pages, and the gorgeous illustration pops out!
Pop up books features include text, illustrations, and moveable paper elements engineered to move when the pages are opened up. Sometimes called paper engineering, get directions to make your own pop up book or buy The Elements of Pop-Up by David A. Carter and James Diaz. In this book, the authors cover the history and how-tos.
The pop up books below are favorites that our family loves the most. I’ll be curious to know which will be your children’s favorites!
You’ll notice that Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda both dominate this list –both creators have contributed many, many books to this style of art.
Amazing Pop Up Books
Ten Horse Farm by Robert Sabuda
Every page features statuesque horses on a farm. You’ll love the simplicity of text paired with evocative, earth-toned illustrations that literally pop. Enchanting!
The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
Monster’s colors are all scribbly and mixed-up which means his emotions are, too. The little girl helps Monster separate his feelings on each page with fantastic pop-ups. I love the green calm page showing Monster in a hammock. The next-to-last page has fun pull-up tabs so kids can see inside each of the feelings jars. And the last page is the best surprise . . .
The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner, illustrated by Jonathan Lambert
This curious frog eats flies. He loves to ask other animals what they eat, too. But what will happen when he asks a creature who loves to eat frogs?
Wild Animal An A to Zoo Pop Up by Dan Green Kingfisher
Don’t be scared by these wild animals who will pop up on each page! Kingfisher does a great job with pop-ups – I think you’ll love this fun alphabet book as much as me.
LEGO Pop Up by Matthew Reinhart
Once again, Reinhart has created an impressive book that tells stories, shares comics and facts, and best of all, has incredible pop-ups, pull-tabs, and turning wheels. If you like pop up books and LEGO, you’re going to want to own this fun pop up book!
*Make your pop up book out of LEGO with this kit!
Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Diagon Alley and Beyond by Matthew Reinhart, illustrated by Kevin M. Wilson
The coolness factor of this Harry Potter pop up book is beyond words –because it’s a complete sensory experience. Open the pages and Diagon Alley pops out in three dimensions. Lift flaps, pull levers, read the information, look at the nuanced details, and smell the fresh book smell. One of the most amazing pop up books on this list!
Whose Habitat is That? by Lucile Piketty
Ready to peek inside 3D animal homes? Whether jungle or ice, you’ll learn where wild animals live. But first you’ll have to read the clues, guess, then check if you’re right by lifting up the spiral pop up.
Love You: A Pop-Up Book by David A. Carter
Each two-page spread tells the reader a sweet message. But what makes this book stand out are the exquisite pop-ups that are colorful, geometrical, and delicate. This book would be a great gift for your favorite adult or child! (I posted a quick video of the interior on Instagram here.)
Beauty and The Beast: A Pop-up Book of the Classic Fairy Tale by Robert Sabuda
Vibrant colorful illustrations that remind me of stained glass pop out of the pages (or lift under flaps) to retell this fairy tale. A masterpiece of artwork by the pop-up book king.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, adapted and illustrated by Robert Sabuda
I gave this beautiful book to my daughter, an Alice in Wonderland fan. It is simply marvelous! The story is shortened and retold on small little booklets on each page and other places. Each page features a dazzling pop-up.
Vehicles (The Pop-Up Guide) by Maud Poulain, illustrated by Charline Picard
As you turn the pages, enjoy the pop-ups of vehicles that fit each setting like the city, construction site, fields, and sea.
Prehistoric Pets by Dr. Dean Lomax, illustrated by Mike Love
Learn bout the prehistoric ancestor of modern-day pets and you’ll see illustrations, read about a day in the life, investigate the fossils, and more. For example, the modern pet of a cat’s ancestor was a smilodon while the parakeet’s ancestor was a velociraptor. Lift the page to read about the ancestor and you’ll see the creature pop off the page. A fun fact-filled pop-up choice!
Chanukah Lights by Michael Rosen and Robert Sabuda
This book is a work of art! Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe the sensations and feelings this paper art evokes in the reader. Chanukah’s Lights is about the history of the Jewish people as they search for a homeland and rebuild their communities told through the lens of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Jewish and secular critics haven’t loved the book’s text but I don’t feel qualified to critique the text since I don’t know much about the history of Chanukah. Read a review in The New York Times and a review from Yoeitzdrian!
The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda
You won’t find a more beautiful Christmas book than this story with gorgeous white and gold pop-ups illustrating the story. It’s exquisite!! Each page is an incredible work of art! This book will be a new family favorite. (For older kids since little ones might not do so well with the delicate 3D art.)
The Weather Pop-up Book by Maike Biederstaedt
Impressive pop-ups show a storm tossing a cargo boat in white-capped waves, a large tornado, rain coming down from clouds, cacti in a hot desert, and ice crystals that form snow. A paragraph of informational text describes each pop-up illustration and the back matter explains climate change.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
Open the page to find — yikes — more than 35 pop-ups of prehistoric beasts of the ocean — scorpions, squid, and sharks, to name a few. Filled with facts as well as incredible artwork.
Gods & Heroes by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda
WOW– this is such a wealth of information as well as cool pop-ups. Open the page to reveal a large 3D illustration but don’t miss smaller lift-the-flaps with more info and illustrations. Absolutely incredible.
What are your children’s favorite pop-up books?
You Might Also Like: