May 19, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Max’s Machines

I remember years ago at a Movable Book Society conference where I was checking out amazing pop-up books on dealer’s tables and an older collector ambled by and whispered, ‘If you think that is good, you should check out Max’s Machines, it’s the best pop-up book ever.’ Hyperbole or not, when someone hints about a great pop-up then I quickly look into it. Turns out the book costs a few quid so it took awhile for me to get my grubby mitts on a copy. It was worth it.

Max’s Machines was created by Willy Bullock in 1999 for Scholastic in the U.K, and right there on the cover boasts ‘the best pop-up book – ever’. (Seems like British paper engineers were always trying to one up each other since Richard Scarry released this book a year earlier.) Bullock creates three giant pop-ups in this five spread oversized book. First up is an intricate racecar that is lifted high above the page with the pull of a tab. Next is a giant dump truck that tips its load of dirt at the yank of a lever. And for the finale, our hapless hero Max is ejected from his supersonic jet when the tab is pulled.

Nowadays, Tim “Willy” Bullock has turned his attention to creating clever and complicated paper automata. He recently released his fun ‘Rude Moose’ kit which can be found on his cool4cats website. I can’t wait to see what is next.


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