The Ark

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Matthew Reinhart has created a stunning pop-up version of the classic Bible story The Ark. This faithful retelling is accompanied by glorious artwork and intricate paper engineering — sure to captivate readers of all ages.

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Matthew Reinhart has created a stunning pop-up version of the classic Bible story The Ark. This faithful retelling is accompanied by glorious artwork and intricate paper engineering — sure to captivate readers of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-Reinhart bases his retelling of Noah's story on the Genesis account. He expands a bit on the original by including folkloric elements such as the jeering neighbors who later beg for a place onboard as the waters rise. What sets this version apart is the use of intricate pop-ups, not only on each spread but also in smaller fold-outs located along the sides. For example, next to the large ark under construction, a smaller scene shows Noah and one of his sons applying tar. The storm scene includes people climbing a mountain while lightning flashes and the ark tosses on roiling waves. The impressive paper engineering is both the book's strength and its weakness. Readers of almost any age will be impressed by the colorful, complex, three-dimensional scenes. However, their fragility limits the book's usefulness for libraries. The smaller pop-ups are particularly difficult to secure under their corner flaps. Librarians might consider whether they would have occasion to include this tale in storyhour and purchase accordingly.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689859090
  • Publisher: Little Simon
  • Publication date: 1/25/2005
  • Pages: 12
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Reinhart

Matthew Reinhart, a graduate of the Pratt Institute, is the highly acclamied author of Animal Popposites, The Ark, Cinderella, andThe Jungle Book for Little Simon. His pop-up career began while working with Robert Sabuda on books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Movable Mother Goose, before breaking into the world of pop-ups on his own. Matthew lives in New York City.

Matthew Reinhart, a graduate of the Pratt Institute, is the highly acclamied author of Animal Popposites, The Ark, Cinderella, andThe Jungle Book for Little Simon. His pop-up career began while working with Robert Sabuda on books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Movable Mother Goose, before breaking into the world of pop-ups on his own. Matthew lives in New York City.


Matthew Reinhart, in his own words:

I was born to Gary and Judith Reinhart in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in September of 1971. My dad soon joined the Navy as a jet fighter pilot, so we moved around a lot when I was young. Florida, Texas, Illinois, California, Virginia, South Carolina -- all over! Dad wanted to be more than a pilot (which was pretty amazing itself) so he went to dental school and studied to be an oral surgeon. Mom and I followed along, and soon we were joined by my little sister, Erin. Often times, Dad's training took him to places we couldn't always follow (even on aircraft carriers), so Mom took care of us. My childhood was filled with good times -- I don't think it could have been much better. Actually, I've never really felt like it ever ended!

Art was always a tremendously huge part of my life. Drawing pictures and making crafts were my favorite activities in school and out. I drew whenever and where ever I could! My school notebooks often had more drawings than notes. I loved animals (and still do) so I drew them everywhere. Dinosaurs, like I think about every kid on the planet, were my favorite and I could rattle off the name of every single one before I could add or subtract. As I got older, I was captivated by the movie Star Wars. The richness of the universe George Lucas created on the screen fueled my young imagination. Creatures, monsters, spaceships, and action heroes filled my many sketchbooks growing up.

Like most high school graduates, I wasn't completely focused on a career. I didn't know there were cool jobs like paper engineer (that's a pop-up designer, in case you didn't know) or that I could make a living being a children's book illustrator. Like most doctors' children, I was convinced to study biology to prepare for medical school. College was great, but I wasn't really happy. Medicine was not my calling. I'd always taken art classes along with my biology courses, so I had built up a bit of a portfolio. I moved to New York after college, and met Robert Sabuda, paper engineer extraordinaire, doing some volunteer work. His book, Christmas Alphabet had just come out, and he told me he had studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I was inspired -- so, with the blessing and support of my understanding parents, I enrolled as an industrial design (specifically toy design) student the following year.

Pratt was fantastic, though my initial dreams of being a toy designer soon transformed into paper engineer with the help of Mr. Sabuda. I really got into pop-ups after working with Robert on books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, ABC Disney and Movable Mother Goose. My first big break in the pop-up world was The Pop Up Book Of Phobias, which was my first solo paper engineered book. Since then, I've gradually began to illustrate and paper engineer my own titles or occasionally co-author with Robert. So here I am!

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Sabuda:

"My first job at the tender age of 16 was at a frozen yogurt shop called This Can't Be Yogurt, or TCBY. Wow, did I get chubby working there! We ate so much of the yogurt (which at the time wasn't fat-or-sugar-free) and the toppings like candy and hot fudge, too. It was a fun first job, though I remember the owner of the store was kind of rough on us and would sit in his car and watch us from the parking lot for hours.

"I am a devoted Transformers fan from the very beginning, back in 1984. Until all are one (only die-hard Trans-fans know what that means!), I must have hundreds if not a thousand different Autobots and Decepticons that I've collected over the years, from the original ‘80s Transformers to Beast Wars: Transformers to the current series -- which is awesome, by the way -- Transformers: Cybertron. They were actually one of the main reasons why I wanted to become a toy designer when I was younger, and I almost got a job at Hasbro working on them in the late ‘90s. Thank goodness I didn't take it! The way I figure it, pop-ups are kind of like paper Transformers. I'd love to do a Transformers pop-up book one day. You listening, Hasbro?"

"As a kid, I hated sweaters. I used to dread getting sweaters at Christmas time -- since I would have to wear it for whichever relative had given it to me. I thought they were too ‘stitchy,' or itchy. My skin must have been super sensitive back then. Thankfully, I've gotten over it."

"I am an exercise freak -- my day is not complete without an early morning trip to the gym. I run, lift weights, jump rope, bike ride and pretty much anything else to get my blood pumping!"

"I don't like tomatoes unless they've been chopped into unrecognizable pieces."

"I do like jumbo shrimp, double tall soy mochas from Starbucks, and Krispy Kreme glazed crème-filled doughnuts -- a whole lot."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1971
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    1. Education:
      B.S. in Biological Sciences, Clemson University, 1994; Graduate Degree in Industrial Design, Pratt Institute, 1998
    2. Website:

Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Matthew Reinhart

How long have you been creating pop-up books?

MR: I've been working on pop-ups since 1997. I began as an intern with Robert Sabuda, the prince of pop-ups, and have kept working with him in one way or another ever since. I learned everything I know about pop-ups from him and his work.

Have you always been a book illustrator?

No, but I've always wanted to be one! I have drawn and painted and sculpted my whole life! I don't remember a time I didn't love to draw, actually. After high school graduation, I never thought I could make a living being an illustrator -- and neither did my parents. They persuaded me to go to medical school, but to continue drawing as a hobby. I wasn't ready for medical school directly out of college so I worked for a year in New York as an eye bank technician before my first semester at medical school. At the eye bank, we helped find new corneas (a clear tissue in the front of an eyeball) for people having eye surgery. It was interesting, but I kept drawing throughout my time there. I met Robert Sabuda who encouraged me to go to art school, so with the help of my very supportive parents, I began at Pratt Institute (a famous New York art school) a year later! I studied industrial design (designing all kinds of everyday products like cars, kitchen appliances, and furniture) and hoped to become a toy designer. I love toys -- especially Star Wars figures and Transformers (I've been collecting both for over twenty years! My collection is huge!). I worked on Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues after I graduated from Pratt, while helping Robert with his pop-up books. Soon, I started my own illustration projects.

Why do you prefer pop-ups over flat books?

Maybe its because I'm good at making pop-ups. I love flat books too -- but I feel like I illustrate in three dimensions best. I think pop-ups can really make a 3-D world that can draw a reader into the story -- and maybe that's why I love them so much. Plus pop-ups can be magical -- they just explode off the page and the reader has the power to make it happen.

Why did you want to create a pop-up version of the story of Noah's Ark?

Noah's story is my favorite story from the Bible (like just about every kid). Noah's tale is an epic one, and it isn't just a happy boat ride. Noah had complete faith despite the doubts of those around him. Also, I love all the animals in the Ark! Creating The Ark was a fantastic opportunity to create a three-dimensional Ark with all the animals I could think of inside. I've loved animals my whole life, and have been able to rattle off the names of exotic creatures since I was about four years old. Drawing animals is even more fun -- so I had a great time! It was really a dream project.

The artwork in The Ark is stunning. Can you describe the illustration process?

Well, The Ark artwork is actually a collage -- so I cut up paper and glued it together. First, I make the paper -- which is great fun but also a huge mess! I use acrylic paints to make all sorts of patterns, textures, and colors on large sheets of paper. After the paint dries, I draw a rough sketch of what the scene needs to look like in pencil on a scrap piece of paper. I designed a very graphic style for The Ark, but it was also influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphics and ancient Babylonian art. Then, rather than filling in parts of art with paint to color it in, I cut out very carefully with an X-Acto knife pieces of the different colored papers and glue them onto white paper to fill in spaces of color. I even cut out paper -- thin wood veneer to make the planks of wood for the Ark. I left white space between the color pieces so that I'd have white outlines instead of black ones.

Which pop-ups in The Ark were the most difficult to create?

I had the most trouble with the ark itself. That's a hard pop-up! Lots of things inside the ark's structure kept running into each other, but I managed to figure it out eventually.

How long did you work on The Ark?

About six to eight months. I loved every bit of it!

What's your next pop-up?

My next pop-up, which comes out this fall, is my first classic fairy tale -- Cinderella. I am super excited about it. It is a huge book and pretty complicated. It was a tremendous amount of work and a totally different style of artwork for me. I think it really transports you to Cinderella's world.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2005


    I give it five stars although in truth it is just bit short of total excellence. I think it is one or two pages shy of providing full satisfaction. Otherwise, the artwork is colorful, nicely done with white border. The popups are complex and work well. I can indeed recommend this book with pleasure.

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