Charming Pop-Up Toy Book

Toys these days are so flashy and multi-faceted, I sometimes despair that children aren’t getting a chance to exercise their imaginations enough.  Children’s imaginations, however, are more resilient than I give them credit for.  I see they still can create whole worlds with boxes and paper.  However, I’m old enough to long for simpler times, simpler toys.  And I think it’s important to help spark their imaginations as much as possible.

Which is one reason I was delighted to find the book The Small World of Paper Toys, by Gerard Lo Monaco.  It’s a charming pop-up that captures the magic of toys that are powered by imagination.


It’s beautifully put together.  It opens up from the landscape side and has the feel of a stage.

The stage is set.

The left page serves as a backdrop for the pop-ups on the right page.  It’s got a little bit of a narrative.

Fire!  Let’s put out the fire!  Nee-nah, the siren wails.  The brave fire fighters dive in.  Quick the big ladder is being deployed.

I love that the child showing us toys is a girl and she likes firetruck, boats, and doll carriages alike.

ZZZ…My fireman is tired.  He’s earned his rest in the little cradle next to my doll.
Tuff, tuff, tuff! What noise the motor makes!  Aboard my eight-speed tractor, I drive Stendhal the big sow to the pigsty.


1, 2, 3, go: it’s a race!  Dog number 1 is the favorite, but the little black one turns out to be a real bullet.

There’s even a movable part where you help lumberjacks saw wood.  And a big mess in the child’s bedroom at the end of the day.

I’ve had such fun conversations after reading this with children about the toys I grew up with and the toys my mother saved from when she was a child.

This book is charming in every way and leads to a sense of nostalgia in the greatest sense of the word.  It’s a great gift to share with a child.   It’s beautifully designed with lots of clean white space so the colors pop.  Mine has been read by several eager children under five and it’s still in great shape.  I expect it to last for years.   It’s published by Little Gestalten, a company that publishes unique books from all over the world.

Here’s a video of the original French Version of the book, posted by the author/artist:

Gérard Lo Monaco is originally from Argentina, and now lives in France.  He was involved in the creation of a circus, a puppet-making company, and a wooden-horse merry-go-round—all of which toured throughout France.   He’s designed album covers and posters and has been awarded a prestigious prize from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris.

Thanks for reading my blog.  My favorite toy when I was under five was little pink pig I swaddled like a baby doll.  What was yours?

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