Comics : Spider-Man & Friends Pop-Up: Camp Spidey

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

This pop-up book is the fourth in a "Ready for Adventure" series of Spider-Man pop-up books for toddlers, written by Michi Fukimoto and produced by Paradise Books. It stars the "Spider-Man & Friends" licensed characters. The four major characters from that team are kiddie versions of Spider-Man, Spider-Girl (his cousin), Hulk (green but not angry) and Captain America.

The book itself is 5" x 7" with thick padded covers. Each book in the four-book series is 10 pages, featuring five "centerfold" double-page images, each featuring a single, very simple popup which is best visible when the book is open at a right angle. Each page features text of a single paragraph, one or two sentences.

In Detail...

Spider-Man & Friends Pop-Up: Camp Spidey
Year 2002 : SM Title
Summary: No ISBN
Publisher:  Paradise Books Inc.
Writer:  Michi Fujimoto
Illustrator:  Jeff Albrecht Studios
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Camp Spidey! Now there's a tautology.

The four friends are loaded up with backpacks and boots as they head off into the wilderness for some camping. All four pop out of the first page together in a single large panel.

With teamwork, the tent is pitched in no time. This is one of the few double panel pop-ups, Spider-Girl pops up slightly ahead of the tent standing behind her.

Another double pop-up. Two in one book! Spider-man and Captain America ar standing at the top of a mountain with Hulk in the background. Spider-Girl is also in the background, swinging from the top of a tree.

The it's time for a canoe race. Team Spider has the advantage, 'cos the lazy Hulk just wants to dangle his arms in the water and relax. Hulk, Cap and canoe are in the pop-up panel.

Hulk and his giant marshmallow pop-up out this last scene as the friends gather around the campfire for the night. Looks like it's going to be a great holiday!

In General...

Somehow, these books seem to avoid dropping into complete schmaltz. How, I don't know. The themes seem to go over-the-top without going over-the-top.

Perhaps it's the art, which at first glance has an incredibly amateurish feel. But because of that, the art is so damn unpretentious that it allows the story to get away with being "mom and apple pie" without actually seeming forced.

I don't know what it is. But somehow these books just "work".

Overall Rating...

Again, Michi Fujimoto and Jeff Albrecht hit the spot just right. Four webs.