Book looks

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Three-dimensional, interactive books for children just keep improving. Kids with a range of interests should find something to like in at least one of these.

Big Frog Can't Fit In (Hyperion, 16 pages, 19.99, ages 4 to 8) -- In his first pop-up book, Mo Willems introduces a jumbo 3-D frog who just doesn't fit onto the pages of a standard-sized book. Her long arms and legs spill over the pages and the dilemma seems hopeless until she gets some help from miniature frogs. The story and its sturdy tabs and levers target a young audience, which will also understand the theme of inclusion.

Cars: A Pop-Up Book of Automobiles (Candlewick, 10 pages, $18.99, age 6 and older) -- Robert Crowther, well-known for 3-D books having to do with transportation (Trains, Ships, Flight) turns his attention to cars in this book packed with history, science and pop-up vehicles. Ten pages is deceiving; each is loaded with information and foldouts with fascinating facts about cars -- past, present and future.

Gladiators (Candlewick, 40 pages, $27.99, age 7 and older) -- A fictional tale of Roman slaves and citizens, historical facts, a map, the board game Tabula, gladiator cards, cardboard coins and a 3-D coliseum that spreads out to at least a foot tall and wide are all included in a package about the ancient games fought to the death. Writer Toby Forward, illustrator Steve Noon and paper engineer David Hawcock are the collaborators.

Snow White (Candlewick, 12 pages, $19.99, age 3 and older) -- In six scenes accompanied by an economical text, artist Jane Ray retells the fairy tale in a lush, theatrical setting. Each page unfolds with a wealth of details. A forest scene, for example, shows Snow White arriving at the house of the seven dwarfs with trees, sheep, birds, foxes, rabbits and much more in the layered, 3-D background.

Swan Lake (Candlewick, 16 pages, $24.99, age 6 and older) -- Viola Ann Seddon and Jean Mahoney's fold-out theater with scenery, dancing figures and a compact disc for youngsters re-create the classic story ballet. The CD offers introductory passages from Tchaikovsky's score, and the book tells the tale. But the best part is the drop-down stage that accommodates scenery changes and characters on sticks.