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*How Many? (A Pop-Up)* by Ron Van Der Meer
How Many? (A Pop-Up)
by Ron Van Der Meer
Ages 6+ 10 pages Robin Corey Books September 2007 Hardcover    

How Many? is an impressive pop-up book that can be used for contemplation or for learning. As the pages are turned, towering shape constructions burst outward. These geometrical wonders consist of triangles, squares, circles, stars and rectangular lines. Each shape sculpture springs up from a two-page spread. Questions accompanying each structure encourage examination of the pop-ups from all angles. While viewing the triangle page, one question asks “Look at the pop-up at eye level, from the front. How many triangles do you see?” The circle page has a question that involves tilting the book back and forth while looking at the spirals, and when studying the squares pop-up, one question requires the readers to turn the book around to look inside the cube located behind the sculpture

Strings, clear plastics, ribbons, and reflective mirrors and foils are used throughout this book. The strings and plastics lend support to the pop-ups without taking away from the aesthetics of the design, while the reflective materials are used for additional colors and dimensional purposes. Readers will be able to see extra shapes reflected in some surfaces when looking through the pop-ups that incorporate these mirrored surfaces. These visual tricks are just one of the many ways Ron van der Meer adds complexity and intricacy to his pop-up designs.

The 17 to 23 questions per page focus on the pop-up's shape and color arrangement. The questions might ask the readers to count the number of stars with four points, the number of transparent squares, or the number of circles with colored borders. The questions do vary on every page, but one question asked on every page involves counting all the different colored shapes.

The colors and shapes used in the pop-up sculptures can be seen again in the borders along the pages, a nice way to continue the shape theme on every page. In addition, white backgrounds behind the colorful sculptures and borders keeps the pages looking clean and bright.

Paper engineer Ron van der Meer has won several awards for his work. Over the years, he has created greeting cards, educational products, and many pop-up books, including The Music Pack, The Brain Pack (with co-author Ad C.M. Dudink), The Birthday Cake and Kids’ Art Pack.

How Many? can be enjoyed by children and adults. The questions vary in difficulty, but readers of all ages can appreciate the creative paper sculptrues within the book. Children can find the yellow triangles while parents are finding the one hidden shape that is not a triangle, or the color with the most triangles. Readers can then go to and email their answers to see how close they come to the “experts’ results.”

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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