'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 28 November 2014

Review: The Dragon and the Knight

Robert Sabuda is a leading children's pop-up book creator and paper engineer. But his version of 'pop-up' is very different to most people's!

The intricacy and sheer scope of his creations has to be seen to be believed. Entire houses spring from the pages. Dragons roar and paper flames shoot out from the book. And adventurers sail forth in paper ships that are accurate to the tiniest detail. These pop-ups are true artworks.

The Dragon and the Knight takes Sabuda's craft to a new level. In the opening pages, we meet the dragon and the knight. Initially things aren't going well — the dragon is trying to burn down and destroy things; the knight is trying to stop him. But the knight is more inclined to persuasion than violence and comes up with a way to use the dragon's fire-breathing talents for good.

Now firm friends, they decide to play a kind of 'fairy-tale chasey', rampaging through the subsequent pages of the book and totally taking over the fairy tales they encounter along the way. They pass comment on Cinderella's glass slippers, pause to warn Hansel and Gretel of the dangers that lurk within that gingerbread house, gate-crash the grieving dwarves as they gather around Snow White's casket … Nearly all of the best-known fairy tales are featured, including Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Rapunzel, The Three Little Pigs and Puss in Boots — and all with an intricately detailed pop-up (covered in the words of the fairy tale itself) either delicately unfolding or vigorously exploding from the page!

This is not a book for the very young. The complexity of the paperwork means these pop-ups won't withstand little fingers grabbing them. But it is a book of beauty and ingenuity that will fascinate older kids and adults alike.

Title: The Dragon and the Knight
Author/Illustrator: Robert Sabuda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, $39.99 RRP
Publication Date: November 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781471123115
For ages: 6+
Type: Pop-up Book