I think there are good books to be found everywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a Kinokuniya or a Power Books.
At the neighborhood grocery store, Fairprice, sometimes there’s a table set up opposite the cashiers on the way out to the rest of the food stalls and kiosks. It has children’s books displayed for sale. I like to check it out sometimes, after we’re done with our weekly shopping.
These are not Newbery Medal winners or New York Times’ bestsellers or anything fancy like that – they’re run-of-the-mill ABC picture books, or board books with 123s or shapes and colors. A lot of it is movie merchandise: coloring books with black and white outlines of Elsa and Anna, Nemo and Dory, or that dinosaur from the other Pixar film that everybody promptly forgot.
Sometimes there are quiet gems though: second-hand copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, good quality board books from DK, and well-made pop-up books.
I love the pop-ups. Seeing them there at Fairprice reminded me of one of Squishy’s current favorites, Pop-Up Sea published by Grandreams Inc.
(Full disclosure: Pop-Up Sea is actually one of Squishy’s hand-me-down books my now 20-something year old sister used to own. Yes, you read that right, it’s a 20-year old book. As far as kids’ books go it’s ancient, but it’s in excellent enough shape that my son is able to enjoy it in 2016. This is a testament to my mom’s talent at safekeeping stuff — will tell you more about Squishy’s other hand-me-down books in a later post. You won’t be able to find Pop-Up Sea in a bookstore these days, but it’s still available on eBay. Even the publisher Grandreams seems to have folded. The last book it published was back in 2011.)
What I love about Pop-Up Sea is that the pictures, for lack of a better word, actually pop.
The back cover of the book names two “Paper Engineers” – including the man who wrote the text, Patrick Watson – who I assume were responsible for making the dolphin and the stingray look like they’re practically swimming out of the page.
If you angle the book just right Mr. Walrus almost looks like he’s about to give you a wet hug.
If you move the pages up and down the scary-looking moray eel with its small sharp teeth can practically give you a bite.
No wonder Squishy loves it.
Pop-Up Sea (Grandreams Inc.)
Text by Patrick Watson
Paper Engineering by Patrick Watson and Matt Rickard