Being a school librarian, I tend to view books through a “how will it play in my elementary school” lens. This is usually a good thing that, you know, helps me do my job. It is a disadvantage, however, when I run into books that are meant to be consumed in calmer confines, away from the 50 checkouts a year school library workout. Pop-up and flap books fall into this category. I sometimes overlook them, citing low durability. “Cosmic”, a pop-up/flap/pull tab/turn wheel book about the universe, made me take notice. A visually remarkable title, bursting with facts and appealing to the senses.
I do not remember ever being as surprised when first opening up a book as I was with “Cosmic”. As I lifted the cover, a huge pop up of the Big Bang spread out before me, accompanied by an audible BOOOOOM! Yes, the first page has its own sound effect (courtesy of a speaker built inside the cover). I couldn’t help but bust out in a big grin and a “oh no they didn’t” laugh. A gimmick? Yes. An inventive, appropriate, and pleasing one? Indeed. Youngsters will freak out. I should also take this time to let you know that the stars and solar flare pictured on the cover light up at the push of a button. Those prone to dismiss such things as bells and whistles, be warned.
From that explosive beginning, “Cosmic” delves into planets, stars, space exploration, and other cosmos-related topics. High-quality photographs and diagrams are used in tandem with the facts to create an informative and visually pleasing whole.
Being a pop-up book, the length is brief. Readers searching for a thorough guide to everything space-related should look elsewhere. While “Cosmic!” sports only 14 official pages, abundant flaps hide even more content, making the “unofficial” page count higher. Good coverage for a pop-up – a nice overview of the subject.
It’s my curse to always see books in terms of how they will work at school. “Cosmic!” broke me out of my daze and was a good reminder that books made for less rigorus environments can be just as valuable.
Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Picture Book of the Day.