Four pop-up books on a marble surface are displayed for the feature image for my post about the "best pop up books of this year." Two of the pop-ups are closed and two are showing the interior pop-ups. A bouquet of sunflowers is in the left side of the photo.

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by bethrmartin

From the intricate paper engineering of Robert Sabuda to the abstract interactive design of 600 Black Spots, pop-up books have captivated and delighted readers across generations. The fantastic 3D paper construction is an art form in its own right, and these pop-up books are endlessly enjoyable for children and adults alike.

As a designer, I love collecting books, and my pop-up books are some of my absolute favorites. They are endlessly cheerful, and whenever I’m stuck in a design rut, they always find a way to jolt me out of it. A few years ago, I even designed a pop-up-themed window display for Hermès!

Pop-up books are a great way to introduce kids to reading or as an engaging form of play. These books make an impressive gift for many occasions, whether you are shopping for a child’s birthday or a housewarming present. 

So whether you are searching for the perfect gift for your little one or you are just a kid at heart, these fantastic pop-up books are sure to wow!
Skip Ahead to the Top Pop Up Books ↓

Some Things To Consider About Pop-Up Books

There are so many fun pop-up book options that you will not want to stop once you start collecting. The choices are seemingly endless, from cute tales for toddlers to interactive stories that will dazzle. 

Interactive Elements

Modern pop-up books include interactive elements such as word searches or puzzles and fun activities, making them perfect for inspiring creativity in kids of all ages. If you’re looking for classics, you will be thrilled that many books of your favorite tales come alive in 3D paper. 

How Delicate The Construction Is

If you purchase a pop-up book for a child, you must consider how your little one will interact with the book. Some pop-ups are complicated, which means they are pretty delicate, and the paper may tear easily.

The listed age range is usually for children who can handle the book carefully, but someone younger might still enjoy the book if supervised while they explore.

Reading Level

For each book below, I’ve included the suggested reading age. No matter what kind of book you choose, rest assured that your gift will provide hours of learning and entertainment.

What Are The Best Pop-Up Books Of This Year?

​​Here are the top pop-up books for your collection:
  1. Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs
  2. 600 Black Spots
  3. Stranger Things: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book
  4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  5. The Wide-Mouthed Frog
  6. Shells: A Pop-Up Book of Wonder
  7. Hermès Pop Up
  8. In The Forest
  9. Flora: A Botanical Pop-up Book
  10. ABC3D
  11. Hokusai Pop-Ups
  12. Believe: A Pop-Up Book of Possibilities
  13. The Elements of Pop-Up
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1. Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs

Reading Age: 3-7
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs Pop-Up Book.

Your favorite dinosaur lover will be truly enamored with this thrilling and fantastically detailed pop-up book. It doesn’t scrimp on history facts, and paired with amazing pop-up paper sculptures, the dinosaurs practically jump off each page before your eyes.

The construction is delicate, so young kids may need help folding the pop-ups back into place properly. But this extra work is worth it because these impressive pop-up dinosaurs are show-stoppers.

If sharks are more your style, check out the equally amazing pop-up book Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters. It’s just as fun as the dino version, but for deep-sea enthusiasts!


2. 600 Black Spots

Reading Age: 3-7
The book "600 Black Spots"

Mondrian-inspired primary colors and Memphis-style paper shapes will take you on a journey that will mesmerize you as you search for all 600 black spots. The craftsmanship is excellent, and this entertaining modernist art book is as perfect for little kids as for the most discerning art lover in your life.

The cool metallic cover on this beautiful book makes it just as impressive closed as it is open. It is an excellent gift for any art lover and is one of my favorite pop-up books because everyone finds delight in this clever design.


3. Stranger Things: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book

Reading Age: 16+

This paper pop-up interpretation of Stranger Things by Simon Arizpe and Reinhart Pop-Up Studio will amaze any hardcore fans. The account includes bits from each season, and the paper engineering gives a whole new dimension to the characters and magical creatures from the series.

The number of surprises is impressive, and the journey makes you want to rewatch the show pronto. Amazingly, the Demogorgon jumps off the page and feels just as terrifying as it does on screen!


4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Reading Age: 4-10
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an absolute classic paper engineer in the pop-up book world.

Robert Sabuda is an absolute classic paper engineer in the pop-up book world, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a perfect example of his work. His beautiful pop-ups, matched with stunning drawings, make the actions feel like they are genuinely coming to life – the twister spins, the poppies bloom, and the hot air balloon looks like it will float off the pages.

This pop-up book version is the original telling (the slippers are silver!), and so many little details make this book feel extraordinary whenever you pick it up.

I received this book as a gift in high school, and I’ve been adding to my collection ever since!


5. The Wide-Mouthed Frog

Reading Age: 2-4
The child pop-up book favorite: The Wide Mouthed Frog

This colorful and cute book is perfect for toddlers because the pop-ups are sturdy while still being playful. The accompanying story is a classic folk tale about a wide-mouthed frog who eats anything and everything in sight!

Kids will laugh at the silly antics of the frog, and they might even learn a valuable lesson or two along the way.


6. Shells: A Pop-Up Book of Wonder

Reading Age: 3+
Shells: A Pop-Up Book of Wonder if filled with beautiful pop ups of sea creatures

This delightful pop-up book shows a world under the sea that is packed with tons of magical creatures. From hermit crabs to beautiful gardens of coral to tropical islands and even a sneaky octopus, this entire book will make you feel as though you have gone on a real deep sea voyage.

The vibrant illustrations will draw you in, and the fold-out pages are full of surprises that will keep your little ones coming back for more.


7. Hermès Pop-Up

Reading Age: 13+
The Hermès Pop-Up book is filled with beautiful pop ups.

If you are looking for a delightful luxury gift without the luxury price tag, look no further than this beautiful pop-up book. This interactive book brings the fairy tale world of Hermès silk designs to life with intricate paper sculptures and beautiful illustrations.

Each scarf pop-up is a work of art with impressive details and vibrant colors, and the book features the history of Hermès silk in a playful way.


8. In The Forest

Reading Age: 4-7
In The Forest is one of the more simple pop up books but the drawings are beautiful.

The striking illustrations by Louis Rigaud in this beautiful book bring the forest to life with the turn of each page. The beautiful pop-ups are seamlessly integrated into the tale, and it’s impossible not to let this book bring your imagination to life.


9. Flora: A Botanical Pop-up Book

Reading Age: 3+
Flora is a beautiful pop-up book

Go on a journey with the pollinators in this lovely book filled with gorgeous illustrations and beautiful pop-ups. Little wonders are hidden under almost every paper leaf and petal, and kids will be delighted to discover the unique creatures that call Flora home.

Children will see the world from pollinators’ perspectives and learn about the importance of preserving biodiversity in our environment.


10. ABC3D

Reading Age: 2-4
Pop up book: ABC3D

This selection may look like a simple book about the ABCs, but it’s so much more. Typography enthusiasts will adore the gorgeous simplicity of the design, and kids will be thrilled to follow along with the amazing pop-ups and lift flaps as they advance through the paper alphabet.

Each letter is bold and three-dimensional, making it a great tactile experience for young readers. Just be careful with little hands because some of the pop-up pages are fragile.

This book makes a great gift for lovers of typography and graphic design. The pop-ups are just too cool, and you will be shocked the humble alphabet could be so amazing.


11. Hokusai Pop-Ups

Reading Age: 13+
Hokusai Pop-ups features the artwork of Katsushika Hokusai

This selection is part of a designer series of pop-up books, and here, you will learn about the exemplary artwork of Katsushika Hokusai. His stunning work jumps off the pages as beautiful 3D pop-ups.

Not to be outdone by its beauty, this pop-up book also provides a detailed look into the life and work of Hokusai, as well as his influence on art and culture today. This pop-up book is an ideal way to experience classic Japanese art firsthand and appreciate its magnificence in a new paper dimension.


12. Believe: A Pop-Up Book of Possibilities

Reading Age: 3+
Believe a simply designed pop-up books, but it's a still delightful world of wonder.

Believe by Robert Sabuda has a minimal aesthetic compared to some of the other pop-up books on this list, but it still packs a big punch. The all-white paper pop-ups are daydream-like, and the story will encourage kids to dream big.

Readers will be captivated by the intricate pop-ups and learn that anything is possible if you just believe.


13. The Elements of Pop-Up

Reading Age: 8+
The Elements of Pop-Up will make you a paper engineer where you create your own cool pop-up books.

If you have looked at all these incredible pop-up books and felt inspired to create your own, then The Elements of Pop-Up is the ultimate book to show you the way. It will teach you the basics of design, how to create pull tabs and lift flaps, and basic mechanics so you, too, can become a paper engineer.

Making your own pop-ups will add a whole new dimension to enjoying these cool books.

With this book as your guide, you can create fantastic pop-ups that will wow your friends. Curious older kids and adults will enjoy constructing imaginative compositions, and maybe one day, your design will be on a bestseller list!

Final Thoughts

Pop-up books are a great way to spark imagination and creativity, and the options on this list are some of the best. From classic stories to animal adventures, these pop-ups offer something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for educational books or a bit of whimsy, one of these entertaining books will surely bring joy to your day. With so many fantastic and original options, the only issue when purchasing the best pop-up book is buying only one!

Pop-up books are an incredibly thoughtful idea for a present. So whether you are searching for a child’s birthday or need a great gift for an artist of any age, consider a pop-up book about their favorite topic.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article. I hope you have enjoyed the list of great pop-up books and found something to add to your collection.

Happy reading!

A selection of four pop-up books on a wood table. A paper sculpture of black dots look like they are jumping off the page, an animal that is part zebra but with wings is one one page, a 3D letter T pops up in paper, and a bird jumps off the page.