75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2005
You might find yourself telling your young child, "Do not touch!" This pop-up book is an elegant, beautiful object, or series of objects, one on each fold-out spread. I laughed and marvelled the first time I opened it, and continue to do so every time I open it again. It's nominally a number book, counting from 1 to 10. Each page opens to create a wonderful 3-D construction, each hiding one red dot. One page wiggles as you pull a tab, one makes noise as zigzags rub against each other, one has 9's that dangle from Seuss-like trees. They're all great fun.
124 of 138 people found the following review helpful
I'm a children's librarian. Across the street from my library (located in the heart of trendy trendy Greenwich Village) is a high-end children's toy store. On occasion, I'll walk by this store just to snicker at some well-meaning designer's attempts at reconciling the world of good design with the world of children's toys. The result is a truly ridiculous store that no self-respecting child would dare be caught dead in. There are mobiles in the style of Mondrian, rocking "horses" ala Carlo Mollino that are a single sinuous fold of wood, and toy houses that look like something out of Frank Lloyd Wright's notebooks. In short, not a bloody thing a kid would actually find fun, but tons of pretty things to tempt their wealthy parents. When I picked up "One Red Dot" I shuddered with recognition. Here was a book that would fit in perfectly at that high-end children's store (and, no doubt, they sell plenty of copies there). I read the premise of the book and flipped through it, safe and secure in the thought that obviously this was some kind of designer's paradise and not a pop-up book that would interest children. WRONG! Sure, it's good design. Arne Jacobsen and George Nelson would be proud. But unlike other grown-up-pleasing books of high-falutin' cleverness (as with David Pelletier's self-satisfied, "Graphic Alphabet"), "One Red Dot" is remarkable precisely because it is fascinating for children. It's the best of both worlds. A delightful romp through surreal pop-up landscapes and a great game of I Spy involving a single carmine sphere.
Open the cover and there isn't a title page or an explanation of what you're about to see. Instead, a large red box with multiple twisty tentacles, circles, and poking peculiarities rises up before your very eyes. The page reads, "One perplexing puzzle box and one red dot". You can peer into the box from above or peek into it on each side, where a different colored circle (white, yellow, black, or blue) meets your eye. It takes a lot of hunting and pecking before the elusive red dot can be found. Got the general gist of the book? Good! Because now we are off and running through a landscape of most peculiar and wonderful scenes. The book acts like a little lap-sized museum. We see twisty twirly gigs that spin multi-colored balls from limp black threads. We pull "wiggle-wobble widgets" through rough red streams and then back again. On one page the previously silent book is suddenly making a cacophony of cardboard gears, a single dot shining over the scene. By the time you reach the "eight obedient orbs" you may have finally figured out that this is a counting book as well as a game of hide-and-seek. By that time, however, you're too amazed by each scene to care WHAT the original intent of the book may have been. The final image seems like nothing so much as the tree from "Waiting For Godot". From it hang nine nines. And somewhere, hiding amongst the curly branches, is one...red...dot.
The book has far more in common with Shel Silverstein's, "The Missing Piece" than it does with pop-up books like those of Robert Sabuda. In the past I've said that Sabuda is the best-known American pop-up artist. This is in no small part due to his prolific nature. Sabuda cranks out his books like they were going out of style. Until now, David Carter has been content to create perfectly nice but not exactly awe-inspiring books. His most interesting, prior to "One Red Dot" was his highly informative, "The Elements of Pop-Up", in which he broke down the art into easy to understand terms and diagrams (with a wonderful website to match). To my delight, this is also the fellow who made that fabulous "In a Dark Dark Wood" pop-up book. Sabuda could take notes on Carter's use of narration and story. Then with "One Red Dot", he goes all fancy on us. No longer is Carter toiling on "Bug Books" (I'm sure they pay the rent). Now he's shown us exactly how fancy a pop-up book can be. He's giving Sabuda a run for his money.
Sabuda's books never include interactive elements like pull-tabs. Carter, on the other hand, relies on them. The results are mixed. On the one hand, it's fun to pull the tab for the four flip-flop flaps. On the other hand, the widgets on the opposite page won't take more than five or six pulls by grubby children's hands before they stop obeying so nicely. I've kept this book in the Reference section of my children's room for about a month now and it has received very little attention. Just the same, when I took it down to inspect it for a reviewing, I saw that the two-page spread of three burning baskets had already broken. On closer inspection, it's clear that the middle basket was a bit too easy to break-off. Hopefully future publications of this book will reinforce this image, since a broken basket sort of ruins the whole effect.
The book's saving grace (aside from being easy on the eyes) is the red dot motif. In many cases, Carter has just hidden the elusive circle away from the viewer so that it will only be found if the child tries to change his or her perspective and turn the book around. Then again, I handed this book to a grown-up who said to me, "The red dot's only on a couple of pages, right?". So finding it is hardly child's play. With the primary colors, thick pages, and surreal grace, "One Red Dot" is a pleasure to people of every age. You can't resent a book that is beautiful and also remembers how to be interesting to kids. A perfect gift for any child, regardless of how many Saarinen "Tulip" chairs you find in their playroom.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
I purchased this book for my 4 year old, but when he unwrapped it and set it aside to go on to the next gift, the book was quickly picked up by the other adults in the room. They were absolutely fascinated by the gorgeous paper sculptures in the book. They oohed and ahhed over them, and looked the book over several times before they relinquished the book to the next curious adult.
Superficially, the book is a counting book where the reader tries to find one red dot in the middle of "eight obedient orbs", etc.. However, the book is ultimately a work of art. The paper sculptures are are abstract and interactive, and completely stunning. I'm a fan of Sabuda's pop-up books, but I just love the playful abstract nature of this book.
My four year old finally got his book back, and he, too, loves it and reads it every night before bed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
For 3 years now, I've been a David A. Carter fan. Why 3 years? You put two and two together. He's the author of these three *very* cool pop-up books that are unlike any pop-up books I've ever seen. They are like individual works of art only they're purchasable at any generic bookstore. It's "Pop" art. Get the double entendre? Well, if not, take a look at the pics above.
My first introduction to his work was with the book: "One Red Dot." Since then he's created "600 Black Spots" and "Blue 2." I purchased these in "new" condition for half of their purchase price on Amazon. However, if you're the type of parent who lets their child run amok with their baby books (not a bad thing) this may have to take a backseat for a year or two. I had to be very careful with my daughter when reading this book. Like any one-year-old her first instinct was to grab then ensuingly tear off the colorful fluttering paper. But I did manage to keep the book "relatively" unscathed and usable for my second daughter.
He's written a couple more "traditional" pop up books about bugs but these were the ones that hooked me. Oh and one more thing, one of the pages makes a great sawing noise when the blades scrape against the paper as you open the page. Clever.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2008
This is such a beautiful book. I recommend everyone to add a copy of this book to their library. I picked up this book in the classroom I work in to engage a 3 year old child with autism. She didn't take her eyes off this book and wanted to play with it again and again. I am now getting one for my three year old son. Every child and adult will love this book. It is truly amazing. Never have I seen such wonderful pop up art done.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2006
The book was a good as advertised and my wife loved it. The only problem is that the book is very fragile. It arrived with one string broken and a twirler that did not twirl. Amazon.com replaced it but the replacement also had a broken string. I was able to fix it, but it was annoying nonetheless.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2006
This is a dazzling pop-up book, truly spectacular in its design! Having presented this book at the Children's Museum of Denver on multiple occasions, I believe my audiences were amazed with its construction and it never failed to delight the children and their parents. It is somewhat fragile, though, the pull tab for "Five wiggle wobble widgets..." being among the most delicate constructions. The concise text is punctuated by the title phrase throughout the book making it an inviting read-aloud, especially for early readers, who will undoubtedly begin to anticipate the phrase and say it along with you. The oohs and ahs that this book elicits when I read it consistently brings a smile to my face. David A. Carter has crafted a book so elegantly simple yet so incredibly creative that it must be held and touched to be fully enjoyed. The wonder of finding the red dot will charm children everywhere.