State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

A Theatre inside the Book

Paper engineering from the collections of the State Library of South Australia

On display from 14 November 2015 to 27 March 2016

Joan Jackson

This exhibition explores the beginnings of moveable books in academia, the history of children's pop-up books, and the use of the moveable format across a multitude of subjects and genres including old story-time favourites, Christmas, sport, exploration, science and music.

Amongst these intriguing pieces you will find a moveable handmade Valentine's card made for bereaved parents, a rare Don Bradman batting-action 'Flicker' book and a record album cover with the band members as pop-up characters.

Other pieces in this display have been drawn from the Children's Literature Research Collection (CLRC) which is one of the State Library's most significant heritage collections. The CLRC contains a wealth of children's literature, toys, games and ephemera, some from prominent South Australian families.

Our feature artist is renowned Czech illustrator and paper engineer Vojtech Kubasta (1914 - 1992). He began his career as an architect in Prague though he soon turned his illustrating skills to creating advertisements.  He ultimately focused on creating children's pop-up books for the State printer Artia, and later secretly for Walt Disney. His signature pieces are large, brightly coloured tri-fold books with the story stapled into the centre. The great surprise is at the end, when the back cover is folded out to reveal the gloriously vibrant pop-up.

When reflecting upon his career, Kubasta said he had wanted to 'create for children a small theatre inside the book ensuring that children could interact with the story and use their imagination to make the story real.

 

Bay A: A gift from Switzerland
Bay A: A gift from Switzerland
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Bay B: Pop-up discovery
Bay B: Pop-up discovery
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Bay C: Following the sun [Portolan Atlas]
Bay C: Following the sun [Portolan Atlas]
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Bay D: Gutenberg's gift
Bay D: Gutenberg's gift
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Bay E: Tunnel under the Thames
Bay E: Tunnel under the Thames
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Bay F: 20th Century pop-ups
Bay F: 20th Century pop-ups
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Bay G: Pop-up Pop Music!
Bay G: Pop-up Pop Music!
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Bay H: Old favourites
Bay H: Old favourites
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Bay I: A theatre inside the book
Bay I: A theatre inside the book
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Bay J: Old school flicker
Bay J: Old school flicker
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Bay K: Uncorking wine pop-ups
Bay K: Uncorking wine pop-ups
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Bay L: A father's gesture
Bay L: A father's gesture
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Bay M: Moveable greetings
Bay M: Moveable greetings
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Bay N: Pop-ups for Christmas
Bay N: Pop-ups for Christmas
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Bay O: Pop-ups for Christmas
Bay O: Pop-ups for Christmas
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Bay P: Pop-ups spells 'Christmas'
Bay P: Pop-ups spells 'Christmas'
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Bay Q: Early history of pop-up books for children
Bay Q: Early history of pop-up books for children
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