It was a true privilege to open my mail and discover an extraordinary review copy of America’s National Parks: A Pop-Up Book ($34.95, W.W.West, Adults). Before I get into the wonders of the book, I must mention that one of the book’s main purposes is to raise money for our National Park system. For every copy of the book sold, $8 will be donated to the National Park Conservation Association (NPCA); the publisher’s goal is to raise $100,000 for this cause, but only 1,200 copies of the Deluxe Limited Edition will be produced. Each of these are numbered and autographed by the paper engineer, illustrator and author. If you wish to purchase a Limited Edition book, you can only do so on the publisher’s website.
America’s National Parks features six National Parks: 1) Everglades; 2) Great Smoky Mountains; 3) Grand Canyon; 4) Yellowstone; 5) Glacier and 6) Yosemite. The book begins with a most informative introduction to our National Parks. Did you know there are 58 National Parks and close to 400 preserved places the National Park System is responsible for protecting? Next to the intro you will find a letter from the President of the National Park Conservation Association. But the real thrill begins when you open up the first two-page pop-up spread. Here you’ll be greeted by Everglades National Park, ironically, the National Park closest to my home and my heart. The detail of the pop-up River of Grass is phenomenal, from the tree hammock to the canoe and die cut birds. There’s even a small side card that, when opened, up pops a gator and what appears to me to be a Great Blue Heron.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Along with each pop-up spread are fascinating facts about each park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park spread features spring flower pop-ups and some cool information about the American Black Bear. The impressive orange-colored Grand Canyon spread will leave you feeling the sheer massiveness of this sprawling natural wonder from the imposing mountains to the plunging valleys and meandering waters inside. Open the Yellowstone pages and see Old Faithful rise before your eyes. Feel the vast diversity of Glacier National Park from the soaring peaks to the meadows and all the animals that call this park home. The Yosemite spread’s towering cliffs and panoramic vistas give you insight into the grandiose nature of one of our nation’s most visited parks.
Because this book could not possibly cover every one of our National Parks in pop-up spreads, there are written pages dedicated to other Eastern, Central and Western USA National Parks. Short descriptions of each park give us clues into the natural wonders – from animals to terrain – of each destination. In the back of the book is a useful map of America highlighting our parks’ locations.
Glacier National Park
The concept for this book is credited to the author, Don Compton, who has penned 13 books about America’s National Parks. He is a collector of antique pop-up books, and used many of his own personal travel experiences in the descriptions he writes in America’s National Parks. This was the first pop-up book artist Dave Emberever illustrated, but you wouldn’t know that by the outstanding job he did. The paper engineer who masterfully designed the pop-ups of this and other spectacular books is Bruce Foster. Oh how I would love to interview him to find out what this daunting task required! The entire team should be so proud of what they’ve accomplished here.
Describing America’s National Parks simply cannot do it justice. This is a book you must see for yourself to truly appreciate. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen a pop-up book as unforgettable as this, and I for one cannot think of a better way to spend $34.95. It’s the next best thing to being there.
Note: Although this book was created for adults, children who are advanced readers will also enjoy it. However, due to the fragile nature of the pop-up pages, the book must be treated gently and with extra care.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade.