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Illustrated by Christyan Fox

Vroom! Vroom! Jump aboard with Cat and Dog as they race by car, train, boat and plane to reach the space station just in time to blast off in the space rocket!
With bouncy rhyming text and a spectacular, sturdy pop-up vehicle on every spread, this is a book for machine-mad children everywhere.

Featuring five fabulous pop-up vehicles!


UK Hardcover • ISBN-10: 1405004452 • ISBN-13: 9781405004459


Back Pack Books

US Hardcover • ISBN-10: 0760786283 • ISBN-13: 9780760786284

(US edition available exclusively through Barnes & Noble Stores)



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Illustrations © 2005 Christyan Fox. Reproduced by permission of Macmillan Children's Books,

One of the very first ideas I came up with, when I began working in children’s books, was a pop-up book featuring five 3D vehicle models – a car, a train, a plane, a boat and a space rocket.

At that point the book was entitled Where on Earth? and had a non-rhyming text about a family of four who’s father was whisking them away for a holiday at a mystery location.  As Dad hurries the family from vehicle to vehicle, he lets slip clues as to their eventual destination, but whenever a family member demands ‘Where on Earth are we going?’ Dad gives the confusing answer ‘Nowhere’ - which turns out to be true as they eventually leave the ‘Earth’ behind.

There was no interest from publishers in the project at that time, so I never went as far as designing any models for it.

However, a few years later, I came back to the project.  Although I’d seen a several vehicle pop-ups for school-aged children, I’d seen very few for pre-schoolers and my then four-year-old son’s obvious enthusiasm for planes trains and automobiles convinced me that there was a gap in the market.

This second version of the book still featured the five vehicle models, but the family were dropped in favour of two new characters – a cat and a dog - who took turns as driver and passenger.  I also wrote a new, simpler rhyming text that would be more appealing to pre-schoolers.  This new version of the book was entitled Brum-Brum!  Vroom-Vroom!

To show potential publishers how the pop-ups would look, I decided to produce a prototype model of the rocket.  As well as being one of the more impressive models in the book, I knew that the rocket would be the most difficult to design – so having made that one work, I was confident I could also pull off the others.

One of my UK publishers took an immediate interest in this new version of the book.  However they needed their US sister company to share the high production costs if the project was to be commercially viable.  Unfortunately the US publisher turned down the project on the basis that there was 'no-established market' in preschool vehicle pop-ups.  Which was ironic – as this was the very reason I had chosen to develop the project in the first place.

Fortunately one of the idiosyncrasies of publishing is that no two publisher’s marketing departments think alike and the lack of an established market that was identified as an obstacle by the first publisher was recognised as an opportunity by Macmillan, the UK publisher who subsequently picked up the project.

Now that the book been accepted by a publisher, I completed the design of the remaining pop-up vehicles and the book underwent yet another reworking.  The text was rewritten (several times!), the book was retitled ZOOM! and Christyan Fox came onboard to illustrate the book.

On the spreads* of all the early prototype models, I had shown the ground in plan view – so that the vehicles appeared to be travelling across the flat plane of the page.  This made visual sense, but was very restrictive in terms of how the spread could be illustrated, since all the objects on the spread had to be at the same scale as the vehicle and could only be shown in plan view.  Ideally the spreads should give a sense of location and be filled with incidental detail, but this would be very difficult to achieve with this approach.

Christyan’s solution to this problem was to create a series of distorted landscapes, where only the centre of the spread (the area immediately surrounding the vehicle) was shown in plan view, while the areas on either side was twisted around into an elevational perspective.  This allowed him to include an appealingly detailed landscape for each spread as well as glimpses of where each vehicle had come from and where it was heading to.

Christyan's first cover for the book.

If you look carefully, you will see that as well as the cat and the dog characters, Christyan has included a bee and a stowaway mouse somewhere on each of the spreads.

Although the work was finished on time, it was decided to delay publication for a year so that the book could undergo a couple more tweaks to maximise its appeal.

Firstly, Christyan’s original cover art for the book (shown opposite), which showed the characters in an aeroplane, was replaced with an image of the rocket, which felt more dynamic and was more in keeping with the book’s title  - ZOOM!  This new cover was further enhanced by the application of iridescent foil.

Secondly, the page size of the book was increased by about 18%, making the pop-ups bigger and giving them substantially more impact.

All together ZOOM! took ten years to complete – from when the idea first occurred to me, to when the book finally reached the bookshelves.  For a book with such a dynamic title, it took a long time to get off the ground …

* A 'spread' is the name given to a pair of facing pages in a book.

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