The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Pop-Up Books Day *

* (restored)


Medical Oddities, Nature’s Anomalies and Carnival Gaffs: A Pop Up Book for Children, a rather odd book from the Colmore Collection. The mummy face in the middle does not appear to be made from paper. It has a pliable leathery texture. It is quite similar to a mummy that was part of the American Dime Museum’s collection. There is no author or publishing information listed anywhere in this volume. I suspect it is a one of a kind privately produced work. Note that the titular card has the word “anomalies” misspelled. It appears correctly on the cover and title page of the tome itself. Many of the items depicted throughout the book appear in other forms as part of the Colmore Collection.’ — crowolf



Pop-up books: an introduction


The audience for early movable books was adults, not children. It is believed that the first use of movable mechanics appeared in a manuscript for an astrological book in 1306. The Catalan mystic and poet Ramon Llull, of Majorca, used a revolving disc or volvelle to illustrate his theories. Throughout the centuries volvelles have been used for such diverse purposes as teaching anatomy, making astronomical predictions, creating secret code, and telling fortunes. By 1564 another movable astrological book titled Cosmographia Petri Apiani had been published. In the following years, the medical profession made use of this format, illustrating anatomical books with layers and flaps showing the human body. The English landscape designer Capability Brown made use of flaps to illustrate “before and after” views of his designs.

While it can be documented that books with movable parts had been used for centuries, they were almost always used in scholarly works. It was not until the eighteenth century that these techniques were applied to books designed for entertainment, particularly for children. Beginning in the 1990s, pop-up or moveable books have grown in prominence, chiefly due to the innovations of Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart, and other great paper engineers. Another such example is David A. Carter’s Bugs in a Box books which have combined sales of over four million copies. In 1987, Camel cigarettes launched a series of pop-up print ads with several innovative folding techniques featuring Joe Camel.

Some pop-up books receive attention as literary works for the degree of artistry or sophistication which they entail. One example is STAR WARS: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, by Matthew Reinhart. This book received literary attention for its elaborate pop-ups, and the skill of its imagery, with the New York Times saying that “calling this sophisticated piece of engineering a ‘pop-up book’ is like calling the Great Wall of China a partition”.


The smallest pop-up book in the world.

French Biedermier moveable card, ca. 1820

Flower Girl moveable card, ca. 1920

The conservation of antique Pop-Up books

Pop-up Winnie the Pooh wheel, ca. 1960

David A. Carter ‘Pop-up Tibetan Buddhist Altars’, 2004

‘Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy’, 2007

Robert Sabuda ‘Peter Pan’, 2008


Selected Links


Movable Book Society
Brooklyn Pops Up: A History of the Movable Book
Exploring Tunnel Books
The Pop-Up World of Ann Montanaro
The Great Menagerie: Pop-Up and Movable Books, 1811-1996
Pop Goes the Page


The greatest pop-up book?


‘In the late 1970s there was an international boom in pop-up books that first lead them away from their longtime status as a novelty form and niche marketing tool. The most memorable and innovative by far was Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House: robust both in concept and construction, with its intricate, multiply entwined moveable parts, marvelously theatrical final spread and brilliant sound effects, the likes of which had never even been attempted previously, Haunted House (1979) was – and, having recently been voted #1 in a poll of the most respected artists and scholars in the field, remains- the best pop-up book ever. Born in Poland in 1936, Pienkowski made his first book when he was only 8-years-old. It was a gift for his father. Due to the war his family left Poland and eventually settled in England where he would attend Kings College. Tor Lokvig was the “paper engineer” on Haunted House and that was the first time anyone had ever heard of such a thing.’ — The Guardian




Click & animate 5 pop-up and moveable books


Julian Wehr ‘The Animated Circus: the Clowns’
Julian Wehr ‘The Animated Circus: the Acrobats’
Ernest Nister ‘What A Surprise:The Three Bears’
L. Meggendorfer ‘Allerlei Tiere: Beetle’
L.Meggendorder ‘Grand Theatre de Animaux Savants’

Brian Dettmer’s book autopsies


Brian Dettmer’s work is created by altering books. Dettmer seals, then cuts into older dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, science and engineering books, art books, medical guides, history books, atlases, comic books, wallpaper sample books, and others, exposing select images and text to create intricate three-dimensional derivative works that reveal new or alternative interpretations of the books. Dettmer never inserts or moves any of the books’ contents. (read more)




5 high & low end pop-up books


Lexus Pop-Up Book

The Royal Family Pop-Up Book

The Pop-Up Book of Sex

The Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns (3:52)

Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Pop-Up Book


Deutsche Soldaten (Schreibers Stehauf-Bilderbucher)
Rare Third Reich Children’s 3D pop-up book


This unusual book is very rare. Few examples managed to survive both the rigors of use by little German children and the destruction of World War II. The 6 x 9 inch, full-color hardcover book is called simply ,,Deutsche Soldaten’’ (German Soldiers) and of course, soldiers of the German Wehrmacht is exactly what is depicted and written about in it. The book consists of five very heavy, stiff chipboard pages, each containing a 7-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch, full-color Richard Friese illustration of soldiers in action and a poetic verse by Hans K. Meixner describing the action in the scene.


8 Pop-up books recommended by Ellen G.K. Rubin aka the Popuplady, an avid collector of pop-ups and board books, with over 5000 titles in her collection. Ms. Rubin, a recognized expert on movable books, served as curator of the exhibition, ‘The History and Art of the Movable Book’, held in early 2008 at the Brooklyn Public Library.


Ken Ishiguro’s ‘Pop-up light’

‘Pop-up Alice falls into wonder hole’

‘Inside the Personal Computer’

Colette Fu’s pop-up books

Shitdisco ‘OK’


立體書: Moby-Dick (白鯨記)

Pop-up tornado

van gebouw tot kaart (Tirion Uitgevers B.V.)
Ingrid Siliakus


Ingrid Sikikus’ work has been displayed and sold in The Netherlands and beyond. In 2001, it was displayed at the American Craft Museum in New York for four months along side work from Marivi Garrido, Takaaki Kihari, Masahiro Chatani and Keiko Nakazawa. Last Spring she published a book of her pop-ups Van Gebouw tot Kaart (‘From Building to Card’), featuring her original designs of famous buildings in The Netherlands and Belgium.


How to make a pop-up
by Joan Irvine


1. Take two pieces of paper, each 21.5 cm x 28 cm (8.5 in. x 11 in.). Fold each paper in half. Put one aside. 2. On the other, put a dot in approximately the centre of the folded edge. 3. Draw a 5 cm (2 in.) line from the dot towards the outer edge. 4. Starting at the folded edge, cut on the line. 5. Fold back the flaps to form two triangles. 6. Open the flaps again. Open the whole page. 7. Now comes the tricky part! Hold your paper, so that it looks like a tent. Put your finger on the top triangle and push down. Pinch the two folded edges of the top triangle, so that the triangle is pushed through to the other side of the paper. 8. Put your finger on the bottom triangle and do the same thing. The top and bottom triangles will now be pushed out to form a mouth inside the card. When you open and close your card, the mouth will look like it is talking. When your card is closed it will look like this:



9. Draw a monster, a person or an animal around your mouth. 10. Glue the inside and outside cards together. Do not apply glue in the area of the pop-up mouth. You now have a cover for your card.


7 utopian pop-up books



The Hadron Collider Pop-Up Book
Emma Sanders


‘The ‘Voyage to the Heart of Matter’ book by Emma Sanders aims to explain the science behind the experiment in which protons travelling at nearly the speed of light collide 40 million times a second within the heart of particle detectors. Pages detail how big the 27km tunnels are in relation to Geneva, how the particle detectors were built and readers are even able to build their own ATLAS device – one of the six particle detector experiments at LHC – albeit a non functioning paper one. n this unique collaboration between ATLAS and renowned paper engineer Anton Radevsky, 7000 tonnes of metal, glass, plastic, cables and computer chips leap from the page in miniature pop-up, to tell the story of CERN’s quest to understand the birth of the universe.’ —





p.s. Hey. So, I’m off to SoCal today to finish the preproduction work on Zac Farley’s and my new film ROOM TEMPERATURE, and the blog will consequently go back into its once weekly posting schedule, probably on Fridays this time. I’ll only be able to catch up with your comments every seven days, iow. Better than nothing, I guess. When we start shooting the film on March 20th, I’ll be out in the desert — about two and a half hours away from Los Angeles — full time for approximately a month. My guess is that the blog will have to go on vacation for the period that we’ll be shooting because, based on past experience at least, that will involve non-stop, exhausting work on my part. Maybe I’ll just post some photos from the set once in a while during that time. I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know. ** scunnard, Hey JP! That is in fact not nearly enough information actually. You should probably use those anecdotes in your writing or something, no? Really nice to see you, pal. Hang way, way in there. ** Dominik, Hi!!! 400! Seriously. You don’t have a stuffed family photo to share, by chance? The schedule is really tough to get right, yes, what with everyone having distinct lives and schedules, but somehow it’ll happen. Love’s help with the jet lag is much appreciated, especially since I have to go into full rehearsals with the actors starting first thing tomorrow morning. Erk. Love not turning everything you own into a stuffed animal, G. Have a great week! ** Misanthrope, Wow, that must be a ratty teddy bear. Unless you’ve done a Madonna makeover on it or something. My ancient (and not so ancient) relatives pretty much all lived in the South, Texas mostly, so slave owning amongst that lot is probably a common thread, horrifyingly enough. ** _Black_Acrylic, Fred sounds cool. I can’t imagine any of the others were remotely as cool. I think you’re right about the ‘CG’ chapter if memory serves. Very nice book, as I also recall. ** fervorxo, Hey. Thanks, that makes total sense. And for the soundcloud link. I’ll hit that ASAP. Take care. ** Steve Erickson, I have heard that, yes. I’m hesitant to crease the dark web as I think I could get very lost there. I have an old friend who’s been beset with terrible migraines since childhood. He says his seem to come out of nowhere, but he is a rather stressed person. I fly to LA this morning. I’ll be there all the way through the shoot, so until about April 25 or so. The shoot itself is 25 days straight with Sundays off. ** Andre, Hi, Andre. Welcome! Really nice to meet you. Couldn’t they get their own teddy bears? That sounds really stressful for your wife. I’m sure the bear came in very handy when she could actually get her hands on it. I must’ve had stuffed animals as a kid, but I don’t remember any. My grandmother was a taxidermist, and I do remember being given lots of stuffed Gila Monsters and jackrabbits and parrots  and things by her. Might explain a few things. Thank you a lot about my writing. Unfortunately I’m going into the weekly posting schedule starting today for a while, but it would be cool to talk with you more if you don’t being a little patient for my parts in the conversation. ** h now j, Thank you! I’m fine, I hope you are too. ** alex, That’s an honestly poignant story. Beanie Babies, right. I just talked to someone the other day who grew up during the Pet Rock phase and said his parents gave him Pet Rocks instead of Teddy Bears. Kind of a nice, grim mental image. No, like I said above, I don’t remember having stuffed animal per se. Oh, wait, I do remember a sock monkey. Huh. Nice about the Vampire Beanie. I’ll google it. Thanks, a! ** Cody Goodnight, Hi, Cody. Thanks, yeah, I’m in pre-long-fight stress mode at the moment, but once I’m sitting in the plane and glued to some terrible, expensively made movie, I’ll be fine. I personally don’t think any city could look as great as Paris, but that’s just me. I do like the homely, low-rise, ever changing look of LA. My day was just packing and doing Zoom meetings, basically. No big whoop. I love Wes Anderson, so enjoy the luxury. Have a really good week, man, and see you again soon. ** Derek McCormack, Hi, big D. I do know about that book, and it is hotly anticipated on my end as well. Miss you too! Wish you could be hanging out on our film set, even though that’s wishing a lot of boredom on you. Love, me. ** Nick., Hey, hey, Nick. Sleep is good. I’m fine, just the usual pre-11 hour plane flight jitters. I hate performing attentiveness too. I can do it, but I’m not a good actor. I … don’t think I’ve seen Matt Kennedy in my day-to-day, but, honestly, there are a lot of French guys who look a lot like him. You’d like it here, or you’d be sincerely attentive at least, ha ha. Right, Ozymandias, I can see that. That makes total sense. This is kind of a boring answer, but I honestly think if I could remove anything from the world it would be mosquitos maybe. At least that’s less boring than picking fascism. I’m an anarchist, and I hate power structures, so maybe I’d remove them in general, but that would be a huge, complicated task. What about you? Well, if the interesting thing around your corner is just clubbing, I hope the djs are in top form, at least. I’m hoping for an unusually lovely week ahead for you, and for me too even. See you soon! ** Okay. You now have a week to look at and think about Pop-Up books, so I hope they hold some sway with you. I’ll see all of you in seven days, and do comment in the meantime at your convenience. Have great weeks!


  1. Dominik


    I’ll look up our old photo albums to see if there’re any pictures in which at least part of my plushie collection is visible, haha. But I appreciate that love isn’t about to turn everything I own into stuffed animals. That’s… yeah. That’s a relief.

    Have a safe trip, the mildest jet lag ever, and lots of fun!! See you in a week!

    Love waiting for you at the airport with a shooting schedule that’s simply perfect for every single soul involved, Od.

  2. Bill

    Good to see this old favorite again, Dennis. That Shitdisco video is hilarious. I should try to find some tutorials on pop-up mechanics.

    Finally saw Terence Davies’ Benediction. Calam Lynch’s Stephen Tennant is hilarious.

    Hope the flight goes smoothly. Look forward to your updates in a week.


  3. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I’m glad you made it back to SoCal safely. I had no idea you were already getting back there. I thought you had another week before your retune. Eek. Where the hell is my mind these days?

    No, the teddy bear is not ratty at all. You’d be amazed at how good its condition is. It’s a little stiff and less soft than it was, of course, but it’s held up.

    Yeah, the dude I know who found out his ancestors were slave owners is married to my better friend, a guy who works for the State Department and happens to be black. He’s been beside himself ever since. I was like, dude, nothing you can do about it but just not be a slave owner yourself and continue being a good dude. To no avail.

    Hope the pre-production and shoot go well. Godspeed.

  4. Kyler

    Hi Dennis – very MUCH looking forward to your new film! Hope it’s going well. I’m sure you haven’t had time to read it, but have you seen Bret’s THE SHARDS yet? I am totally blown away and can’t put it down….almost done. Wow. When you get a chance, can you remind me of your current address? I want to send you my next book when it comes out this year, a collection of nonfiction and fiction entitled THE HIGHER GENIUS. Excited about this and your film!

  5. Meg Gluth

    Dennis, mon ami! I just emailed ya at the email address that has a 72 in it, is that a good one for ya? Hope you have/had safe travels to LA. See ya soon

  6. Kettering

    Mr. Cooper (Dennis),
    I’m sending this to your e-mail as well as here in the hopes that it gets to you quickly…
    Has the young actor, the girl who can only work on weekends and break, considered a stint of homeschooling so that she could make a deeper commitment to the film? Her experience could be carved into an Independent Study the likes of which dreams are made. There’s so much she could do, both with her time on the film and to continue her existing school work. I actually really, really know what I’m talking about here, and if you need help or want to connect her parents with me, I’d be happy to talk to them. I seriously have background in this, and can explain further via e-mail; the one I use here is fine.
    Let me know if this could be of help,

  7. Claudia Tilley

    Hello Dennis, I recently read your interview with Richard Hawkins on Interview, in which you describe yourself as a “Blanchotian”. I also read your blog post on Maurice Blanchot because I love him, especially his essay Literature and the Right to Death. Anyway, I plan to go to Paris middle of March and was wondering if there is anything I should do or anywhere I should go that specifically relates to Maurice Blanchot or is in theme of Blanchotian. Aka where is the Blanchotian vibe in Paris? Thanks, Claudia.

  8. _Black_Acrylic

    Today’s post brings back dimly remembered visions of this book from my childhood, which featured some astronauts flying the Spaceship H-20 on an intergalactic quest.

    Exciting news is that the cinema over the road from my new flat will soon be playing Tar. I know you hated it but the BEE podcast reckons it was the best film of last year and I’m off with my mum next week. The first time I’ve been to the cinema to see anything in forever so I’ll probably love the film whatever its defects.

  9. David Ehrenstein


    • Kettering

      Sorry, Mr. Ehrenstein, to bother you, but…

      Cooper Tango (from God Jr.):

      “Jim,” says Bette’s voice. She’s back in Tommy’s room with a mysterious woman. To our eyes, they’re red flags, but the stranger is the reddest, with tousled, gelled black hair and a juicy face I’d guess is Middle Eastern or Hispanic or just very, very suntanned.

      [Here’s the dance…]

      The bear in me finds her far more appetizing than Bette. His curiosity or hunger triggers a flirty look from me. That triggers a grimace from my wife, and it triggers the bear to fade away into her husband.

      Am I right?

  10. Arthur Marie

    Dear Dennis Cooper,

    My name is Arthur Marie and I am a 26 years old painter. I grew up in Montfarville, a small village located at the Northeastern side of the Manche. I sometimes do sculptures and inflatables, but I focus on making figurative oil paintings. It is always a challenge for me to synthesise my work in a sentence, but I could say that my paintings are an attempt to represent, in a Flemish old masters style, the psychological and sociological struggles that concern me.

    I am currently working on my second solo show, and I was wondering if you could write a text for the occasion. You are an important inspiration for me and it would be an honour to have a piece of writing from you. The more I work on my paintings the more I cannot think of anyone other than you to do it.

    I discovered your work a few years ago when I was still a student at the École des Beaux Arts in Caen. We met briefly during the casting of Permanent Green Light. I came to the audition with no expectations and it was a pleasure to meet you and Zac Farley, both of you were very kind to me. I was not selected but it was for the best, compared to the actors you chose, my acting skills were terrible!

    Nevertheless, I was truly moved by your movie when it came out. I saw it at the Balice Heartling Gallery. In addition to the distinctive qualities of the scenario and the image, I liked the fact that the scenes take place in Caen and Cherbourg, which resonates with me as I grew up in both cities. I recognised myself in the torment of the teenagers you portray, that feeling of cruel isolation, an emptiness than pushes some to commit inner violence.

    Ever since we met, I have kept an eye on your theatrical and literary works. I follow your blog weekly being a great source of inspiration for me. I am always amazed at the colossal amount of images and topics you share in each post. When I work on my paintings, I always have a lot of pictures around me, pictures of old masters, military and working uniforms. industrial machines, wax mannequins and so on.. To avoid loosing track of what I want to paint, I also try to keep in mind my inspirational figures. It helps me when in doubt, when I want to quit to start something else.

    The exhibition will be presented in April at the Queer Thoughts Gallery in New-York City.
    Unlike my last solo exhibition which was based on the idea of Still Life, this one includes exclusively figure paintings. I will present sketches, finished and unfinished pieces. There will also be a series of portraits, seven variations of a painting I did two years ago. I hope it is not too short of a notice to send you this request, and that the idea will catch your interest. If so, it would be a pleasure to discuss it further with you over coffee in a cafe or in my studio located in Bobigny.

    the infos of the gallery :

    and my infos :

    Arthur Marie

  11. ellie

    Hi Dennis! How are you? I’ve been watching a bunch of movies with my boyfriend lately and was thinking of showing him Permanent Green Light next and remembered I haven’t written you in a bit. I hope everything’s lovely and wonderful where you are, and things are going well with writing and the movie! xo ellie

  12. shadeoutmapes🐌🏃‍♂️

    hi, I hope you’re doing really good!!
    Haha ok so David Lynch is sitting next to me right now. well not the real David Lynch but- well, this is so funny, it’s a little statue with what was a plant on his head my friend gave me on my Birthday, but I forgot to water it and now its gray and looks like David lynch, so I changed his name from Albert to David Lynch!

    How are you? Been a bit, well kind of, like 5 days at the time writing this but things have been very slow for me. Oh, I was on a bus with a friend the other day and someone asked for a phone to borrow, and I felt really bad because I didn’t have mine, so I sort of made my friend give them theirs and they almost went of the bus with it. It would have been my fault if it was stolen so that was an oof.

    when do you guys start shooting? I hope that goes well! The dessert sounds miserable so…drink water??? that made me sound like a parent but it’s true!!

    So, I actually put a hold on the thesis because turns out I might have to do more research as well as the fact I completely forgot I have a personal deadline to complete my novel draft sometime in April. Oh, speaking of the “novel” it’s so confusing creating drafts, the whole story seems silly and despite the core of a story still being retained, so much around it changes that I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.
    I’m not sure if I ever described what the story was originally supposed to be, but it’s completely changed and turned into an entirely different plot.

    Anyways do you like cats? I have this really adorable picture I found of one of my cats, Isobel, that I’ve been literally showing everyone, and I thought maybe you’d find it sweet- although I don’t know how to send it-if you want to see her…🤨🤔
    See ya

    • shadeoutmapes🐌🏃‍♂️

      O wait forgot to say something! What you said about the characters you try to write relating to the thing I said (that I can’t exactly remember) is something I will weirdly consider a compliment because it’s interesting and unconventional! 🤠
      And also, kind of interesting because that’s exactly how I’m trying to write the character in the little novel I’m hopefully going to finish.

  13. ellie

    Dennis hi! How are you? I was just thinking about showing my boyfriend Permanent Green Light and Like Cattle Towards Glow and I remembered I haven’t written you in a little while. I hope everything’s been lovely and wonderful where you are, and with the movie and everything. xo ellie

    • ellie

      Oops, I double posted again haha, sorry. Well hopefully if I make this dumb mistake often enough it’ll get charming at some point? Anyway, much love and wishing you the best!

  14. Ryan

    wow those are pretty cool

  15. Steve Erickson

    I picture a pop-up book of your GIF novels with several screens.

    How was the last week of pre-production?

    I seem to have come down with some kind of infection – I’ve been coughing heavily the last few days, with no other symptoms. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow.

  16. Cody Goodnight

    Hi Dennis!

    Apologies for responding so late. I hope you are doing well in SoCal, and I hope the film is going smoothly. Really loved this post. Pop-up books have been very appealing to me, especially as a child. My week was ok. I fell up some stairs during my television class and I got some essays done. Now I’m going to enjoy my spring break. I watched Fassbinder’s Martha. It’s a very scary, cruel film about abuse and I loved it. Fassbinder never disappoints. I rewatched Taxi Driver and Gregg Araki’s The Living End. I also watched Party Monster for the first time yesterday. Very strange film about the Club Kids, but pretty fun. I’m going to see Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire tonight in a theater, so I’m excited about that. I discovered Tim Buckley’s Starsailor, which has become one of my favorite albums. I have also been reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved for my southern gothic class. Very brutal and seminal work. I hope your weekend goes well, Dennis!

  17. Xavier

    Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House was my favourite book in pre-school, I was a Gothy little pre-schooler in the 2000s. Always remembered the book but not the title, crazy to revisit it now

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