America the Beautiful: A Pop-up Book

( 17 )


Master paper engineer Robert Sabuda has interpreted the classic American anthem "America the Beautiful" in dazzling dimension. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Rushmore to the Statue of Liberty, America has never looked more spectacular. This stunning keepsake masterpiece will be shared and admired by generations to come; indeed it is a national treasure in and of itself.

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Master paper engineer Robert Sabuda has interpreted the classic American anthem "America the Beautiful" in dazzling dimension. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Rushmore to the Statue of Liberty, America has never looked more spectacular. This stunning keepsake masterpiece will be shared and admired by generations to come; indeed it is a national treasure in and of itself.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Robert Sabuda again dazzles audiences with his brilliant paper engineering, this time honoring the USA and the legendary text by Katharine Lee Bates. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Big Apple, Sabuda delivers dynamic spreads that combine his trademark white pop-ups against colored backgrounds. Notable spreads include the Great Plains, including a windmill that turns; a Mississippi River steamboat with spinning ribbons that symbolize the water in its paddle wheel; and a large Statue of Liberty set against the New York skyline. For anyone who needs an ample dose of patriotism or simply craves Sabuda's next book after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this stunning tribute is a treat that's not to be missed.
From The Critics
Prepare to be astonished by yet another 3-D marvel from famed paper engineer Sabuda. Every page turn of this intricately constructed pop-up book reveals an American landmark, each an interpretation of a phrase from Katherine Lee Bates's poem "America the Beautiful." Popping up on one spread are miniature versions of the Capitol building, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial, where you can peek inside at a tiny Abraham Lincoln. (Ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
Publishers Weekly
Starched-white shapes of icons such as the Statue of Liberty and a Mississippi riverboat unfold in this patriotic pop-up. Paper engineer Sabuda (The Christmas Alphabet) goes line-by-line through the first stanza of the celebratory "America the Beautiful," pairing "O beautiful for spacious skies" with a red-on-white Golden Gate Bridge and boats cutting silver-foil ribbons through the water. Line two, "For amber waves of grain," exalts "The Great Plains"; here, a tractor foregrounds symmetrical rows of crops, a rooster crows on a barn roof and a string mechanism allows readers to turn a windmill's blades. Inside the closing spread ("From sea to shining sea!"), which pictures a minimalist Manhattan with foil-windowed skyscrapers, a small book-within-a-book provides mini-pop-ups (the Twin Towers, Liberty Bell and an American eagle) and lyrics to the lesser-known verses by "Katharine Lee Bates July 4, 1895." Skeptics may be taken aback that the "amber" grain and "purple mountain majesties" of Mount Rushmore spring up icy white. The author also takes liberties with mapping, for instance placing the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument perpendicular to the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall. The dove-white imagery, pure as snow, which worked so effectively in Sabuda's Christmas books, here suggests the rich connotations of the simple verses, but also sanitizes the complex topics. Sabuda's paper engineering impresses as usual, but the presentation seems more decorative than awe-inspiring. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The miracle that is Robert Sabuda's work is that no matter how complicated and amazing his pop-ups are, they all slip perfectly back into their pages as easily as they popped out; and this is his most intricate work to date! The movable parts are all white with touches of silver and, because it was necessary in one case, orange; and the base pages are in bright low-intensity colors. He has chosen to illustrate the song America the Beautiful with such images as the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore, the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, and the Statue of Liberty with New York City in the background. The sheer number of pop-ups, the pop-ups within pop-ups, the height and width and length of his pop-ups boggles the mind. Or, as one woman who had never seen his work before, said after she had turned over a few pages, "It's so beautiful, it makes me want to cry." The wonder and awareness of the quality of this book would be wasted on a very young child. 2004, Little Simon, Ages 8 up.
—Eleanor Heldrich
School Library Journal
K Up-New and astonishing feats of paper engineering lurk within the bulging covers of Sabuda's latest creation. Here, taking the first verse of our other national anthem as his text, he flies viewers from the Golden Gate Bridge, over waves of grain beneath a spinning windmill, past Mount Rushmore, Mesa Verde, a Mississippi river boat, and the National Capitol, to Lady Liberty-then, within a small inset booklet, pairs the Twin Towers, a swinging Liberty Bell, and other American symbols to the rest of the stanzas. Aside from the aforementioned bridge, plus an occasional foil highlight, the pop-up effects are an undecorated white that gleams like those "alabaster cities" against the generally solid color fields on which they are set. The very last line, which contains a reference to America's "whiter jubilee," has an odd ring to it these days, and some of the pop-ups are so complexly folded that they'll rip if their spreads aren't opened carefully: still, each opening will elicit gasps, and the poem's soaring imagery has never been better served.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The wizard of pop-ups has created a masterpiece-in design, in execution, in boldness of vision, and in artistic and historical integrity. In seven openings, he treats the first verse of Katharine Lee Bates's poem. "For spacious skies" features the Golden Gate Bridge, its span rising above a blue-and-green bay where small boats leave silver traces in the water. "Purple mountain majesties" is Mount Rushmore, every face recognizable; "above the fruited plain" rises Mesa Verde, an incredibly elaborate construction. Sabuda uses foil lavishly, even to the silver ropes on the paddlewheels of the Mississippi steamboat where "God shed His grace." The work does not end with the final "from sea to shining sea," with the Statue of Liberty rising in front of the Manhattan skyline, but continues in another four small, set-in pages. By including the rest of the verses on these miniature folios, he gives readers a few more icons: the Twin Towers with the verse "for heroes proved," the Liberty Bell for "patriot dreams," the space shuttle for "pilgrim feet," and the American eagle for the last line of jubilee. Rejoice, and buy multiple copies. (Pop-up book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689847448
  • Publisher: Little Simon
  • Publication date: 10/19/2004
  • Series: Classic Collectible Pop-Up Series
  • Edition description: Pop-Up Book
  • Pages: 16
  • Sales rank: 68,204
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Sabuda

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children's book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter's Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but afew, have garnered numerous awards and have made the New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.


Pop-up books are true oddities of children's publishing. They are charmingly quaint and old-fashioned, yet eternally popular. They've been around for ages, but precious few creative souls set out to become pop-up artists. This, however, is not the case with Robert Sabuda, who seems to have been born to make pop-up books.

Sabuda made his first step toward becoming one of the most ingenious pop-up artists in contemporary publishing as a very young child. He grew up in a household where books were held in the highest regard and reading was always encouraged. He has fond memories of being read to by his mother when he was a little boy. Sabuda's first encounter with a pop-up book occurred in a dentist office. Anxious about his appointment, young Robert's mother read a pop-up book with him to take his mind off the dentist's chair. He was instantly hooked.

Sabuda's background as a gifted artist also played a key role in his future career. As a kid, he was fortunate enough to be encouraged in his artistic pursuits by his teachers and his parents, his father being a mason and carpenter. He inherited from his dad a lifelong fascination with construction and avidly studied the pop-up books he received as gifts to find out what made them work. Imaginative and curious, he even made his own pop-ups out of discarded manila envelopes his mom brought home from her office.

This childhood hobby would prove invaluable, as an older Sabuda set out on a career in children's books. He got his start as a journeyman illustrator working with such writers as Eugene Bradley Coco (The Fiddler's Son; Wishing Well) and Jay Patrick Lewis (Earth Verses and Water Rhymes). He even worked on adaptations of Walt Whitman classics geared toward young readers.

Sabuda's first solo effort was Saint Valentine (1992), a retelling of the ancient tale of a humble Roman physician who brings about a miracle. The focal point of this charmingly simple story is Sabuda's illustrations, a series of intricate, exquisite mosaics made of marbleized and hand-painted paper that simulate the look of early Christian art. Proof of a craftsmanship rarely seen in children's books, Saint Valentine and its sequel, Tutankhamen's Gift, revealed the illustrator's uncanny talent for creating unconventional art.

In 1994, Sabuda discovered his niche with The Christmas Alphabet, a seasonal delight filled with eye-catching pop-ups and crafted with an elegance as appealing to adults as to children. The Christmas Alphabet was the first in a long line of remarkable paper-engineered wonders covering a wide range of subject matter. He would adapt famous tales (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), tackle contemporary issues (the Help the Animals series), and tell completely original stories (Winter's Tale).

Some of Sabuda's finest work has been done in collaboration with his partner and good friend Matthew Reinhart. Between them, these two pop-up geniuses have produced stunning work, including two wonderful science-oriented series, the Young Naturalist's Pop-up Handbook and the Encyclopedia Prehistorica. And although each has become increasingly involved in independent projects, they continue to influence each other in subtle and dramatic ways.

In explaining the attraction of the pop-up genre to today's technologically savvy kids, Sabuda says,. "I think [kids] are drawn to pop-up books because so much in their world today to them seems like magic, electronically," Sabuda told Barnes & "So, when they see one of my pop-ups books and they open it, they're amazed that it's occurring just by turning the page... that there's no electronics or bells or whistles to make that happen. I know that just from a creative part, they love seeing that magic occur."

Good To Know

As a boy, Sabuda took tap lessons at a local dance school, where he also furthered his artistic abilities by designing backdrops.

Shortly after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City, Sabuda made ends meet by designing boxes for women's underwear.

Sabuda's first work in children's publishing was as an illustrator of coloring books, which books based on such popular movie characters as the very non-kid-friendly Rambo.

Sabuda shared some fun facts about himself in our interview:

"My first job was as a hardware stock boy and I LOVED it. To this day, when someone says 'Home Depot,' I start salivating like Pavlov's dog."

"I'm inspired to create the work that I do because I really don't know how to do anything else. Besides it's a bit of a curse, too. I always have so many ideas that I feel like I'll never get to them all."

"I don't know how to drive a car and have no desire to learn."

"My partner (author/illustrator) Matthew Reinhart and I just got an 1830's farmhouse in up state New York. Having it renovated has been a great project. It's like working on a huge pop-up that you can live in."

"To unwind, I do yoga, but my practice is pretty average. But I can do a headstand, away from the wall, which for me is a really big deal!"

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 8, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pinckney, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., Pratt Institute, 1987
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 12, 2013

    Not recommended

    We own a couple other Sabuda pop-up books and were disappointed in the lack of color and technical intricacies in this one. We had such high hopes and bought America the Beautiful without seeing it first based on our passed experience with his work. We are sorry we did so. :-(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    Fantastic Book

    Wonderful artistry, I would highly recommend this book as a great gift book.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    America the Beaautiful

    This book is so creative and beutiful. It is the sort of book that fits perfectly on a coffee table for everyone to look at again and again. What a great gift for any family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    awesome book

    i'v never read a book like this one. This book is a pop up book and fun to look at with small childeren

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    Robert Sabuda is a true artist, this is a little more simple and definatley less colorful than a number of his other more impressive books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006


    I love this book! My friend brought this book into class one day and it was amazing work. She is related to the author so we got to see it before anyone else.I LOVE THIS POP UP BOOK! It's also fun for little kids to look at the pop ups and learn about our country at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2004

    This is a treasure

    I this is on a morning news show and had to check it out in person. What a buy! The whole family enjoys it and appreciates pop ups more. What a wonderful job.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    This Book is a Treasure

    This book is a treasure because it is so wonderful for young children and of all of the detail in this book is extraordinary. It's wonderful for children to learn and see the beautiful pictures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    Awesome America

    What a positive book about America for children! My boys absolutely love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2004

    Art in a Book!

    Robert Sabuda has gone beyond mastering the art of pop-up books and typical children's books. He has taken the art to a new level. What a pleasure sharing this book with my students.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2004

    A National Treasure

    In times of trials and tribulations,it takes just one work of art like this to bring us to our senses.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2004


    Robert Sabuda always delights. His attention to detail in his intricate constructions will be treasured. Everyone who looked at my book was wowed by it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2004


    Robert Sabuda is far and away the most fitting author for such a compelling children's book. The images figuratively, and literally, leap off the page. I was stunned to see the skill with which America's most recognizable icons were presented in this terrific book. A treasure! Pick up your copy IMMEDIATELY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

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