Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Book Review: Gallop!

Rufus Butler Seder

Prepare to be amazed by this picture book. I guess I shouldn't call it that, because it's unlike any other picture book I've seen. My son, Luke, calls it the "movie book." That seems very appropriate. Prepare to be amazed by this movie book.

The picture below is not featured in the book. It's actually a "kineticard" (greeting card) also by Rufus Seder. Really, this is how the animals move as you turn the page. I guess he has patented it, and calls it "Scanimation." Alright, slightly better than "movie book." My guess is, this is the first of many Scanimation books.  Check out this YouTube video to give you an idea of what to expect from the actual book.

The text follows a predictable pattern, starting with "Can you gallop like a horse?" It then moves on to other animals and changes the action word. "Can you strut like a rooster?" and so on (dog, cat, eagle, "chimp," butterfly, and turtle). Simple text, but in this case, you really aren't purchasing the book to read the text.

Enrichment: I always thought it was "persistence of vision" that made possible the illusion of movement in still pictures. Many places on the Internet will talk about it as well, but according to, it isn't. Oh well. Regardless of whatever it is in our brains that makes this happen, it's neat. If your child is truly fascinated by this book, instead of taking it apart (as I am SO tempted to do!), go to this neato site featuring old fashioned moving picture machines. Download the free pdf to make your own optical toys like the zoetrope or thaumatrope. And check out the phenakistoscope while you're there.

Buy It: Available in any bookstore, but currently available online at for $9.32, plus low flat-rate shipping. Find it at Barnes and for $10.36 (plus shipping). Also available on with free Super Saver Shipping for $10.15 (used and new there for as low as $3.48). I recommend buying new, because although we are very careful with our copy, the double-pages are already splitting. The hardcovered book's inner pages are similar to poster board.


Alissa said...

My kids got this book for Christmas, and they love it!

Julie said...

My son just got it, and I am completely fascinated by it. I swear I've done everything but destroy the book to try and figure out how it works!