In addition to the rich library of facsimiles and art books, the Museum of Arte Povera has a valuable and significant collection of animated, three-dimensional books with raised images, where it is possible not only to read enchanting and magical stories but to play and, with a simple touch discover ... magic books toy books, which do not contain only two-dimensional images. By opening a single page of these precious books you can admire a varied amount of figures to animate and perspective scenarios. Currently the definition pop-up, literally "jumping on" (introduced by the publisher Blue Ribbon Press in the thirties and subsequently extended to almost all the books that contained some "surprises" or mobile part), is the conventional way to indicate these publications , even if, for some time, in America, "interactive book" has also been used, perhaps mediating from the computer language. THE MAGIC BOOK: A LITTLE HISTORY Almost all of the books on the market today are designed in America or England. The interest in pop-up books, albeit with a tradition of over a century, has exploded commercially only in the last Unlike how one might think, given that today this type of publication is aimed at children and young people, the history of animated books sees them born as a didactic tool to illustrate scientific theories and research. Since the fourteenth century, some anatomical books were illustrated with the "flap" technique, a paper flap which, raised, shows the inside of the drawn subject or what is hidden under a surface. In the 16th century, the German astronomer Peter Apian, in the book Cosmographia, carved some intaglio engravings and connected the various parts with thin threads so that they could rotate one over the other. Thus he intended to assist the explanation and transmission of the information he had elaborated in his studies of celestial bodies. For about two centuries animated books remained confined to didactic tools; only towards the end of the 18th century did a production start, which dealt with themes related to the show and to the traditional or fantastic story and the first "pastime" books were published. A series of optical toys anticipated the effects and contents of many three-dimensional books printed in the second half of the 19th century, effects that were also found among the pages of the pop-ups published today. Curious devices that used images to create suggestive effects, to arouse wonder and amazement, became very popular in the 1700s and 1800s. Scientific instruments, such as the magic lantern, the curved mirrors for the anamorphosis, the optical machines of the precinema, were transformed to produce shows. These include pantoscopes, optical boxes and peep shows whose modified and simplified effects, we will find among the pages of many pop-up books. In the same period, the optical box or theatrical diorama spread. Outside, it looked like a small wooden column, or a long horizontal box more or less decorated or carved, which could have seemed part of the furniture if it had not been for a large "eye", a lens, facing the center of the room. Peeking through the lens, landscapes, panoramas or interiors of buildings in perfect three-dimensions revealed themselves in the eyes of the spectator. In the early nineteenth century, the wooden containers were eliminated and the first multi-storey scenes were built using only paper as then for the books. THE FIRST LUDIC IMAGES The first images to be animated for playful purposes appeared in the second half of the 1700s created around 1760 by the London publisher Robert Sayer, the Harlequinades, or Metamorphoses Book or Turn Up Book, consisted of two images printed on a single sheet which, cut into four parts and folded perpendicularly on itself, superimposed the two designs hiding one. By lifting the parts of the sheet, the images were composed in new combinations that gave an ironic or mocking aspect to the story that was being told. Sayer published several "Harlequin tales" between 1765 and 1772. These booklets became very popular, were imitated by other publishers and also sold outside England, but due to the poor quality of the paper they were printed on and wear and tear caused by the movements, the copies in good condition that have come down to us are few. Rare are also the well-preserved copies of the publications from the London publishing house S. and J. Fuller who between 1810 and 1812 proposed some books which each contained seven or eight figures with different clothes, who lacked the head . This was drawn on a detached cardboard and had a long tongue under the neck that had to be inserted in the neckline of the dress, thus allowing to "dress" the paper doll in various costumes. A few years later, the same technique was applied to images that represented environments of family life that had to be completed by figures that had to be inserted, with the same technique of the tongue, in invisible slots practiced in some points of the image. Between 1860 and 1900 Dean & Son published about 50 titles, using numerous construction techniques, including Little Red Riding Hood (1864), considered the first three-dimensional book and the other scenic books Robinson Crusoe, Cinderella and Aladdin. Each illustration was arranged on three or four carved floors and connected with cardboard strips. By pulling the ribbon placed on the back of the cardboard that constituted the background, the page was raised vertically and the planes were raised creating a perspective effect. The text was printed on the horizontal page and was visible only when the illustration was raised. Many Dean & Son books were also published in the United States by E. P. Dutton. In the following years other London publishers ventured into the creation of animated and three-dimensional books, among them Raphael Tuck (1821-1900), an emigrant of German origin, who had founded in 1870, together with his children, a publishing house that in a short time was become famous for the quality of its productions. Paper dolls, decorations, games, tickets were designed in the London studios, but printed by the skilled technicians of the German industries. After 1882, following the retirement of his father, the name of the publishing house was transformed into Raphael Tuck & Sons and the production of animated and three-dimensional books began. Like those of Dean & Son, the animated books of Raphael Tuck & Sons, they proposed images that rose from the background by opening the book or animated by pulling on a cardboard tab. Groups of children and pets were the protagonists. Among the most beautiful books we find those of the Father Tuck Mechanical Series published around 1890 and the volume Summer surprises (1896) which contains splendid three-dimensional pages republished a few years ago, successfully, throughout Europe (in Italy by Rizzoli with the titles By the sea and in the countryside). In Germany, due to the tradition and experience in color printing, there were many publishers who ventured into the production of animated and three-dimensional books. One of the most interesting productions is that related to Ernest Nister (1842-?) And his publishing house which began to publish children's books around 1880. His activity took place between Nuremberg - where the studies where his works were based they were designed and built - and London, where he had opened a commercial office. Thanks to an agreement with E. P. Dutton of New York, many of his books were also sold in the United States. Talented illustrators worked with him, in fact the designs of the Nister editions have an unmistakable style. We find represented chubby and serene children who identify with the roles of adults or play in the company of nice animals. Poems and nursery rhymes, seasons, games, the sea, Christmas are recurring themes in his production. In addition to improving the quality of traditional mobile books, the artists and technicians of the Nister Publishing House invented new technical solutions. The illustrations of his works rose from the sheet thanks to scaffoldings of cardboard and fabric tabs (such as Wild animal stories or Peeps into Fairy Land); they dissolved into each other because divided into horizontal strips or segments that were intertwined by pulling a cardboard lever (such as Playtime surprises) or rotating a tape along the perimeter of the image (such as Revolving pictures or Surprising Pictures) they completed by observing them in transparency (like The Magic Toy Book). In the 1980s Nister's books were reprinted all over the world, but in many cases the publications are not faithful to the original version, both for the size and the number of illustrations contained in the original version. In some cases these are creations of modern authors who have animated images taken from his books. Lothar Meggendorfer (1847-1925), the "genius" inventor of the most complex mechanical books created so far, was born in Munich, Germany. At the beginning of the century his name was well known both among adults and children, but little by little it was forgotten. In 1860, following the death of his father, he had to leave school. After two years, thanks to the interest of a friend who recognized his talent, he began to attend the Munich Academy of Art. In 1866 he joined the staff of the humorous magazine Fliegende Blatter (Flying Sheets) and later also collaborated with other publications, but drawing and coloring was not enough for him. He was interested in certain greeting cards for children who presented mobile or relief images. It is said that, taking inspiration from these, Meggendorfer built, as a Christmas gift for his children, a book with figures that moved like puppets. He had carved some parts of the figures drawn on a sheet and fixed them to the background with small metal spirals connected together with cardboard strips hidden between the pages. By pulling a small lever that protruded from the edge of the sheet, the figures came to life. That was the prototype of the first of the many books that he prepared, for which he created surprising mechanisms that allowed him to make the protagonists of his drawings up to five or six movements simultaneously and in different directions, when the images made by the other authors made them once or twice. He also made three-dimensional works, such as Im Stadtpark, Das Puppenhaus and Internationaler Circus, his most famous book, but Meggendorfer especially deserves appreciation for the ingenuity he showed in devising mechanisms to animate the figures that illustrated his nursery rhymes, which allowed him to create true masterpieces of paper engineering. Some of his books were published in Italy by the publisher Hoepli. The production of pop-up books outside Germany and England was quantitatively more modest. In France, the publications of A. Capendu of Paris, small theatrical scenarios and animated books, which resemble the works of Dean & Son, should be remembered. In Italy there was a production of good artistic interest, but of limited edition. Sometimes it is difficult to date the books of that period exactly, because "restorations" made by inexperienced hands, replacements of covers or loss of title pages, have deprived the texts of editorial references Con Hoepli (who translated some titles of the beginning of the century Meggendorfer and in the 1940s proposed three large carousels, the Libroteatro Hoepli), among the first to publish stories belonging to the Italian tradition we find the publishers Treves, Bemporad, Vallardi and the Florentine R. Franceschini & F. who in the 1940s proposed books with " animated figures ", with very simple mechanisms. In the interwar period, few publishing houses continued to offer animated and three-dimensional books in their catalogs. There was a return to the production of single sheets, greeting cards or souvenirs for important events and no author distinguished himself for creativity or innovative contributions until 1929, when the first book by J. L. Giroud was published in London. Paper and printing certainly did not have the quality and refinement of those used for the works of the previous authors, but the contained costs and a new, simple, technique capable of creating original and very pleasant effects made Giroud's books a real editorial success and his works became very popular in England in the years between the two wars. Between 1929 and 1934 he made the animations for the annuals of the Daily Express. Later he founded Strand Publications with which he published the 17 titles of the Bookano Stories series between 1934 and 1950. The text occupied most of the volume which contained 3 to 6 pop-up figures - pictures that spring up in Model Form - which rose when the book was opened and occupied the space of two sides; some figures moved if the pages were partially closed and opened with repeated movements. Who introduced the term pop-up, to indicate the books that had three-dimensional or animated illustrations, was the Blue Ribbon Press of New York. Among his best known publications are the four pop-ups featuring Disney characters released between 1933 and 1934. A few years later, Pleasure Books Inc. Chicago, of the same publishing group, made other books with protagonists that belonged to the world of comics: Buck Rogers, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Tim Tyler, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan. In the 1940s the publications of McLoughlin Bros. also resumed, which had edited, from 1880 to the end of the century, card games and animated books that had had good commercial success. In 1939 he published the first titles of the Jolly Jumps series which revealed, with the volumes edited in the following years, a production of considerable artistic interest. The revival of production, however, took place in the early sixties. Bancroft Publishing in London began, spreading the publications of the Artia of Prague (translated by Cino del Duca Editore in Italy) illustrated by Voitec Kubasta. In his works this author was able to renew the simplest and most elementary technique for constructing an image on several levels: the whole illustration, including the parts that will be raised thanks to incisions and folds, is drawn directly on a single sheet. This requires that an image be constructed with elements drawn from different perspective points of view. Until then, linked to a minor editorial production (the titles of the Mediterranean editions of the 1940s and those of the publisher Piccoli in the 1960s are an example in Italy), this technique reached the maximum artistic expression with Kubasta. Many authors later tried their hand at these technical strategies which make it possible to obtain beautiful volumetric solutions at low costs, however Kubasta's works retain a particular originality and charm, not yet equaled. The most important "name" in the contemporary history of pop-ups is that of Waldo Hunt who, from a passionate collector, has become his greatest producer. Hunt saw the first pop-up book in Germany during the Second World War and was fascinated by it. In 1960 he founded Graphics International, later merged into Hallmark, with which he published over 30 titles translated into many languages (in Italian by Mondadori). In 1975, he launched Intervisual Communication in Los Angeles, the most important pop-up book production company which today offers dozens of new titles that are published all over the world. The best paper engineers have worked with Hunt, including Ron Van Der Meer, Keith Moseley, Rodger Smith, while others have trained professionally in Intervisual studios including Dick Dudley, Pat Paris, and James Roger Diaz who have now undertaken an independent activity. The "mobile" books created in recent years show more and more complex and fascinating constructions and the surprise that is felt by leafing through these pages is even greater in the works in which the sounds or lights have also been inserted. In the last twenty years many illustrators, paper engineers, creatives have contributed with their talent to enrich the surprising paper engineering contained in the three-dimensional and mechanical books of Ernest Nister and Lothar Meggendorfer by offering readers increasingly elaborate and unpredictable pages, pages that enchant and they are astonishing and that they belong to the magical world of fantasy even when they tell real life or simulate the functioning of a machine, the human body, the mysteries of the universe or help to learn to read. Except for a few cases, the books that we find on the market all over the world are made in China, Colombia and Singapore where important production companies are based which manage, thanks to the print quality achieved and the short preparation times, to manually assemble thousands copies for each title.