Picks and Pans Review: Bugs That Go Bump in the Night
Plenty of books have characters that come to life, but few literary creations leap off the page like Carter's two-dimensional wigglers. Open his latest pop-up book, and a colorful crawler unravels to tickle your nose. Make your way to the final page, and a bug mask—suitable for trick-or-treaters—hides inside an envelope. "It's a lot of fun building these little things," says Carter, 39, one of pop-updom's leading practitioners. "I make myself laugh all the time."
Mastering the art of paper engineering has turned Carter into the Steven Spielberg of ascending insects. Since 1988's How Many Bugs in a Box?, Carter has crafted 13 bug books with combined sales of more than 2 million copies—not to mention a colorful new line of sturdy vinyl bug stickers and whimsical finger puppets.
So what's with all the bugs? "When I was little I just loved bugs," says Carter, who grew up in Salt Lake City. As a fledgling graphic artist, he started doodling bees and ladybugs. He learned his craft (and met his wife, Noelle, 35, also a graphic artist) at Intervisual Communications, a Los Angeles design firm that specializes in pop-up books.
Today he toils in a 500 square-foot studio above the garage of his Auburn, Calif., home and tests his pop-up pests on daughters Molly, 7, and Emma, 3. But he still hasn't licked his biggest problem—pop-up parts that get ripped up by curious kids. "I watched my own children do it and tried to learn from it," says Carter. "But I also know it's going to happen." No problem: There's plenty of bugs where those popped-up from. (Little Simon, $14.95)
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