There may be a Harry Potter fan, or five, in my household. I don’t know if that makes me biased in a good way or a bad way against all things Harry Potter. Let’s just say that my expectations are high when it comes to this extraordinary world created by the legendary J.K. Rowling.
Moreover, I also might have a warped sense of what makes for a good pop-up book. You see, I actually inherited a vast collection of pop-up style books. Some are actually done in collaboration with paper engineer Matthew Reinhart. Those books now sit in a beautifully color coordinated row on my bookshelf thanks to a certain show that I binge watched at the end of summer. Some of those pop-up books are exceedingly complex. Some of the books in my collection are more simple, but feature beautiful illustrations. All of these pop-up books hold a special place in my heart for the varying ways that they are engineered to deliver information.
Given my inherent leanings and predispositions I promise to “try” to still give my fair assessment of Harry Potter A Pop-Up Guide to Diagon Alley and Beyond by the incredibly talented Matthew Reinhart. I will also try to keep my Harry Potter fan-girling to a minimum.
Harry Potter A Pop-Up Guide to Diagon Alley and Beyond definitely makes an extraordinary first impression. The book is large and weighty. It is probably one of the bigger pop-up books I have seen. The front, back, and spine of the book are covered with gorgeous illustrations. The title of the book and a few other details are printed in metallic gold which provides a bewitching contrast to the more muted and earthy colors of the illustrations.
When you first open the book the amount of detail is almost overwhelming. You are immediately transported to Diagon Alley. There you will find Flourish & Blotts and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Here I counted no less than 5 pull tabs. Each tab opens up to expose elements and images from the Harry Potter films. As you pull the tabs you really need to make sure the book is fully opened as many of these hidden images and dimensional effects need room to emerge.
As you continue on through the book you will find Gringotts and The Vaults. The Gringotts Bank actually opens vertically to reveal the vault. The page extends well above, and slightly below,the confines of the book. The image pop-up engineering here is quite impressive. The only slight downside being that it is hard to close. I definitely struggled to get everything back into place and worried that I would rip something in the process. Pop-up books as most everyone knows are notoriously delicate.
In the book you will also find pages dedicated to Knockturn Alley and Ollivanders, Hogwarts Express and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, and The Ministry of Magic. All are equally stunning. All the pages feature hidden surprises, hauntingly beautiful imagery, and lovely sections of text.
What’s most impressive about this pop-up book, however, is that the entire book is designed to unfold out into a table top pop-up diorama that is approximately 48” x 21.” Thankfully instructions are provided for this process. I only wish, however, that more instructions were provided for the Gingotts Bank and Vault section of the book. I really struggled with putting that section back together.
The book is illustrated by the marvelous Kevin M. Wilson. Likely you have seen his work before, but just don’t know it. Kevin Wilson has done work for Universal Studios, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Marvel, and more. Kevin Wilson does not disappoint. His illustrations here are hauntingly beautiful and really transport you to all these locations.
I don’t think that any Harry Potter fan or pop-up book collector would be disappointed to add Harry Potter A Pop-Up Guide to Diagon Alley And Beyond to their collection. The book's unique ability to turn into a 4ft long 3D model with additional paper characters makes the book truly one of a kind. I think it’s fair to say that this would be a treasured, albeit delicate, gift for those who love the Harry Potter film franchise or pop-up books.
Get the book here: Amazon (affiliate)