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Book review: 'America's National Parks' features stunning pop-ups, retro-style art

Published: Saturday, May 25 2013 12:30 p.m. MDT

One of the six pop-ups in "America's National Parks, a Pop-Up Book" depicts the Grand Canyon. (Courtesy of W.W.West, Inc.) One of the six pop-ups in "America's National Parks, a Pop-Up Book" depicts the Grand Canyon. (Courtesy of W.W.West, Inc.)

"AMERICA'S NATIONAL PARKS — A Pop-Up Book," by Don Compton, illustrated by Dave Ember, paper engineering by Brusce Foster, W.W. West, $34.95 (nf)

If you like national parks, you admire them for their beauty, wonder and impressive landscapes. Depending on where you live, getting to a national park can be difficult and looking at pictures in a book, well, that's so one-dimensional. However, a recent publication features some of the best national parks in three dimensions. Introducing one of the coolest pop-up books to be printed in a long time: "America's National Parks, a Pop-Up Book."

Popping off the pages with detailed images and eye-catching 3D constructions, the book features six stunning full-color pop-ups of the Everglades, Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite National Parks. An additional 12 parks, including Shenandoah, Grand Teton, Death Valley, Mammoth Cave and Crater Lake, are featured with short written descriptions containing facts and information. Although not depicted as a pop-up, Utah's own Zion National Park is highlighted with a nice description and historic poster.

"America's National Parks, a Pop-Up Book" features 18 of the most popular national parks. Six of the stunning pop-ups show incredible landscapes from around the United States. (Courtesy of W.W.West, Inc.) "America's National Parks, a Pop-Up Book" features 18 of the most popular national parks. Six of the stunning pop-ups show incredible landscapes from around the United States. (Courtesy of W.W.West, Inc.)

The first pop-up page features the Everglades. It shows a family boating through the swampy green waters of Florida surrounded by a host of birds, animals, plants and reptiles. The 3D constructions transport the reader to the park in a way not possible with a photograph. Can you see the endangered Florida panther peering out from the cypress grove?

The most impressive pop-up in the book is Yellowstone National Park. The famous geyser, Old Faithful, explodes off the page measuring more than a full foot high. The famous mineral pools, hot springs and wildlife are all present. Be sure to explore every inch of the book because smaller pop-ups hide behind flaps and pull-out panels. You might even find a photo or two.

Illustrator Dave Ember did the artwork throughout the entire book. It was designed to mirror the 1930s retro-style national park posters created by the Works Progress Association, a New Deal-reform program developed under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Even the detailed pop-up constructions bear the familiar color styles from this earlier age.

Is this a book worthy of your time and money? Absolutely. The quality and beauty is one of a kind. The price is a bit steep at $35, but $8 from every copy goes to the National Parks Conservation Association. In addition a deluxe version of the book limited to 1,200 copies will be available at nationalparkspopup.com. This is just the type of book that might be highly collectible one day.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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