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About the Collection
Explore our developing experimental site for information about early movable books. You will find a searchable research database of items held in multiple institutions, and a “play” site where you can manipulate several examples in a virtual gaming environment. The “About” page tells you more about the project to date, and the scholarly essay, “What Are Movable Books?” provides background on the genre.
What are Movable Books?
A movable book is a literacy toy where reading words and looking at pictures becomes a game. Also called mechanical books, or toy books, most movable books look like regular books (or codexes) but some of the words and images are presented by mechanical devices such as a flap, tab, slot, wheel and so on. The reader becomes a player who in order to engage with the story must manipulate the mechanisms to create movement. These may be simple such as the flaps that animate a flap book when they are lifted up to reveal pictures that transform one into another or complex such as the architectural structures hidden in pop-up books that seem to jump out when the pages are turned. In all cases, playfulness, movability and the ability to make changes or transformations are of the essence.