First thing in the morning and the last thing at night and many times in-between, seven white wooden letters spell a word hanging vertically on my bedroom wall. This word reminds me in the vast expanse of our natural and cosmic world, each and every one of us has a place and a purpose. It reinforces accepted truths upon which each year of my life has been lived. It challenges me to be my best self. It comforts me in times of uncertainty. It is a source of strength.
Distinguished illustrator and master paper-engineer Robert Sabuda (Ten Horse Farm) uses this word as the title for his newest book. Believe: A Pop-Up Book Of Possibilities (Candlewick Press, April 9, 2019) presents to readers six opportunities. They are seeds, beginnings and youthful endeavors laden with promise.
When I grow up
An unseen narrator invites participation as each of the six statements begins. These sentences start small but reveal a larger outcome. They allow readers to see how size does not determine majesty, splendor or great accomplishments.
When we see pine cones on the ground, is our first thought of the mighty tree from which they fell? Pine cones house multiple seeds on each of the woody scales. How many trees reaching to high heights will come from a single pine cone?
It has become increasing clear another small being determines bounty. The honeybee, struggling to maintain its population in many places, spreads pollen to pollinate flowers, vegetables and fruits. Like them, readers are asked to savor the benefits of their labors.
Three items, one cracked, yield a flurry of feathers. From play in the bathtub, one can ride the waves on oceans reflecting the sky. You can grow from a beach architect to building spires stretching into the clouds. No beginning is too small, if you believe.
With the same two words, When I, starting each sentence, except for the final statement, Robert Sabuda supplies readers with a gentle cadence. It also presents a questioning pause before the page turn. It is after the page turn readers are given a declarative answer along with the marvelous illustrative pop-up. We are, without being aware, being led to the final soaring possibility.
On the front of the book case we are given a soothing scene of rolling hills meeting the sea with a ship calmly sailing past us. Readers will discover four of the possible outcomes are included in this setting. To the left, on the back, a sneak peek of the first pop-up, a gigantic evergreen tree among other small trees unfolds in the center.
No space is wasted by Robert Sabuda. As we open the book case two shades of forest green, one on the left and the other on the right, cover the two pages. In white the pine cone is placed in the lower right-hand corner. These two greens are used again in the pop-up, done in crisp white.
For each of the six displays the two initial colors are found in the pop-up, either covering the two pages or as one of many elements. This heightens the expectation as each revelation is made. The concluding pop-up spans the final two pages. Each pop-up is fashioned in heavier white paper, giving us a breathtaking contrast to the colors on which it is placed.
All six representations are exceptional but one of my favorites is for the words, When I strive for my goals I will savor the outcome. A dotted white line loops through the gutter on two hues of blue paper. The line ends with a honey bee in flight on the right. At the page turn the pop-up is gasp-worthy. Five three-dimensional sunflowers among seven rise and curve to the right. Three clouds on the far right add perspective. The details in these flowers are exquisite; layers of petals circle out from larger centers with multiple dot cut-outs.
It is guaranteed this title will inspire readers of all ages. The word choices, when and will, leave no doubt as to the outcome. Believe: A Pop-Up Book Of Possibilities written and illustrated by Robert Sabuda is one you must have on your personal and professional book shelves. This is a book you will want to gift to many other people.
To learn more about Robert Sabuda and his other work, please follow the link attached to his name to access his website. With a link, he gives viewers many how-to instructions for engineering pop-ups. At the publisher's website you can see an interior image. The publisher also provides us with an informative Q & A with author/artist Robert Sabuda about this book. Please enjoy this lovely book trailer.