NEW YORK – Movable books feature dramatic, three-dimensional or moving parts that readers can manipulate. Through the 16th and 17th centuries, adults commonly used volvelles, parchment or paper wheel charts fitted with information-filled revolving discs, to decipher secret codes, plot the planets, explore mystical theories, and calculate dates of movable feasts. As the science of medicine advanced, anatomical flap books, featured superimposed illustrations covering, then revealing, concealed marvels of the human body.

Children had long enjoyed listening to tales and fables. Books illustrating morality tales and extoling maidenly virtues expressly for them, however, did not appear until the mid-1700s. To add to their appeal, publishers incorporated interactive movable paper mechanisms. Their pull tabs nodded heads and waved hands, while split flap-pages altered illustrations in pace with text, and lift flaps or slats changed illustrations entirely. In time, simple page turns, through secreted paper scaffolding, raised characters magically to their feet.

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