Two members of our Inklings Picture Book critique group recently made a pilgrimage  to see the original pop-up art of Robert Sabuda and David Diaz in an exhibit “The Wizards of Pop-up.”  It was at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas.

Austin author-illustrators Christy Stallop and Erik Kuntz basically spent the day with Sabuda, Caldecott Medalist Diaz, museum executive director Debbie Lillick and the Illustration Chair of the National Society of Childrens Books Authors and Illustrators, Priscilla Burris. They had dinner with Diaz .

Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart are considered to be the  premier contemporary  pop-up book artists in the U.S.

Maurice Sendak tried his hand at 3-D moveable art with great results.  Mommy? released in 2006 by Michael di Capua Books/Scholastic was  a collaboration between him, author-playwright Arthur Yorinks and pop-up wizard Reinhart.

Erik and Christy’s field trip got me thinking how much I enjoyed pop-ups and  any kind of  “3-D” art as a kid.

Maybe because it broke the picture plane and added one more dimension of  “make believe.”

I once owned a reprint of a Turn of the Century pop-up book. It was  about  a Victorian family’s visit to a  zoo. I don’t   remember the title or the artist.

As you turned each page  you saw the same family and a different cage of animals come to life. The animals stayed behind the bars,  thank goodness.  The book gave you a charming experience of visiting a zoo.

One issue of “Jack and Jill” magazine, I remember ( I was a proud 10 year old subscriber), had a sort of 3-D assemble-it-yourself Dinosaur Diorama. It featured Pteranadons, Brontosauruses and maybe a T-Rex. You placed them into a primeval forest stage-set. Its curved backdrop gave depth to a world of  volcanoes, ferns, and Jurassic beasts. (Of course the best dinosaur is a 3-D dinosaur.)

After doing my part in the assembly, I felt as if I’d done the whole mural myself.  It wasn’t like I’d painted the dinosaurs. I’d  just punched them out of cardstock and inserted them into their places in the scene. But I’d helped to contribute to the 3-D effect!

Pop up books have been around since the Middle Ages — for kids books, since the 1800s. Here is Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart’s List of “Top 10 Pop-Up Books” , according to Amazon.com.

And speaking of 3-D papercraft, Kids Can Press has re-released the eminently kid-friendly The New Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts by Judy Ann Sadler. A redesign and smartly graphic illustrations by Caroline Price keep176 pages of step by step procedurals from feeling  burdensome.

The New Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts by Judy Ann Sadler and Caroline Price