Interactive Books : Playful Media before Pop-Ups book cover
1st Edition

Interactive Books
Playful Media before Pop-Ups

ISBN 9780367346478
Published May 21, 2019 by Routledge
276 Pages

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Book Description

Movable books are an innovative area of children’s publishing. Commonly equated with spectacular pop-ups, movable books have a little-known history as interactive, narrative media. Since they are hybrid artifacts consisting of words, images and movable components, they cross the borders between story, toy, and game. Interactive Books is a historical and comparative study of early movable books in relation to the children who engage with them.

Jacqueline Reid-Walsh focuses on the period movable books became connected with children from the mid-17th to the early-19th centuries. In particular, she examines turn-up books, paper doll books, and related hybrid experiments like toy theaters and paignion (or domestic play set) produced between 1650 and 1830. Despite being popular in their own time, these artifacts are little known today. This study draws attention to a gap in our knowledge of children’s print culture by showing how these artifacts are important in their own right.

Reid-Walsh combines archival research with children’s literature studies, book history, and juvenilia studies. By examining commercially produced and homemade examples, she explores the interrelations among children, interactive media, and historical participatory culture. By drawing on both Enlightenment thinkers and contemporary digital media theorists Interactive Books enables us to think critically about children’s media texts paper and digital, past and present.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Part I: Historical and Cultural Contexts and Theoretical Issues

Chapter 1. Texts and Contexts for Movable Books

Chapter 2. 17th- to 19th-century Children’s Domestic Practices: "Activities" and "Rational Recreations" as Historical "DIY Culture"

Part II: 17th- to 19th-century Turn-up Books: Religion, Morality, and Entertainment on Interactive Paper Platforms

Chapter 3. Movable Religious Lessons and Subversion by Design

Chapter 4. Allegorical Metamorphoses and Antic Transformations

Chapter 5. Child-made Religious Turn-up Books: Child Interactors as DIY Producers

Part III: Enacting Domesticated and Fantastical Adventures: 19th-century Movables before the "Stand-up" Book

Chapter 6. Fuller Paper-doll Books: Playing across Gender and Genre

Chapter 7. English Toy Theaters: Staging Miniature Melodramatic Spectacles

Chapter 8. Elaborate Movable Books in Two and Three Dimensions: Activity and Agency Enhanced and Restricted.

Chapter 9. Conclusion: Contemporary "Pop-up" Books: Activity and Agency Reformulated



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Jacqueline Reid-Walsh is Associate Professor of Education, Language & Literacy Education, and Women's Studies at Pennsylvania State University, US.