Miss Fanshaw – by Sue Scullard

Miss Fanshaw and the Great Dragon Adventure – written and illustrated by Sue Scullard –  is the opposite of a pop-up book – it’s a “pop through” book.

It satisfies on several levels.   An unusual heroine, sumptuously detailed drawings and clever “reveals” created by holes cut in the pages. These holes are part of the plot, as you shall see in the examples below.

First – the cover:

We meet Miss Fanshaw, relaxing in her extraordinary library.  That is pretty much my idea of an ideal room:

The story starts with Miss Fanshaw admiring a dragon.  The dragon is in a cage outside Buckingham Palace – but during the special Celebratory Banquet, a terrible thing happens: a mysterious bird steals the dragons egg.  Here is Miss Fanshaw chasing the bird:

(As you can see, the book should viewed vertically.  I’ve put most of the pages horizontally here to save space). Here is a closer look at the forest canopy – notice that eye peering up from below:

Another detail – notice the pattern of suns on Miss Fanshaw’s balloon.

When the page is turned…

The eye is revealed…

to be a spectacularly patterned monster butterfly.  Notice that the hole on the left below.

What used to be a sun pattern on Miss Fanshaw’s balloon in the previous page, is now the sun itself, peeping through a hole in the forest canopy.

Here is another example of a “hole transition”.  Miss Fanshaw follows the bird down a volcanic tunnel:

The hole reveals a fiery scene of pre-historic birds:

One of my favourite transitions.  Miss Fanshaw is now riding the newly hatched dragon towards a mysterious patch of eyes glowing in the back of a cave.

Turning the page, reveals the source of the eyes:

A giant panther covered in eye markings:

And here Miss Fanshaw is flying up from the bottom of a courtyard surrounded by towers, towards a sky filled with birds.  Or is it?

A closer look at the birds:

And a closer look at the monster fly caught in the web behind her.

The page turns to reveal that the birds we saw through the hole are part of…

A sky serpent covered in bird markings:

And by the way, the fly’s eye is now the mosaic tiled floor of a courtyard far below:

Miss Fanshaw returns triumphantly with the new baby dragon:

All’s well that end’s well.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pavinee
    Jan 26, 2010 @ 16:02:45

    Wow! It must have taken a lot of time to plan and construct the whole book! Gorgeous!

  2. mashadutoit
    Jan 26, 2010 @ 16:26:05

    I agree – that’s partly what I love about it. Its so clever. Must have been a fun project though.
    I wonder if there are more Miss Fanshaw books…

  3. meliss
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 08:44:01

    van die os op die draak, het julle al avatar gesien.
    ek is skoon spaced out vanoggend.

    as julle nog nie het nie, die canal walk 3d cinema is die beste vir 3d – check it out..

  4. mashadutoit
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 09:00:06

    Ja! Twee keer 🙂

    Ek het ook gehoor canal walk is beter vir 3D, maar Cavendish het die beste klank. Elke keer wat ons by Canal Walk was, was daar ‘n horrible hum.

  5. yameng
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 16:07:39

    awesome book!
    where can i find one?

  6. mashadutoit
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 16:24:17

    Become a serious second hand bookshop addict (if you are not one already!)

    Fleamarkets are particularly useful..

  7. Becca
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 04:41:05

    Thank you for posting this. “Miss Fanshaw and the Great Dragon Adventure” was one of my absolute favorite books growing up. I found this page when I was desperately trying to figure out the title and recognized the illustrations immediately. Now I can find a copy for my own kids!

  8. mashadutoit
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 07:42:01

    Fantastic! I wish you luck in finding a copy, I’m sure your children will love it too 🙂

  9. Jean Swartz
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 14:57:25

    An amazing and beautifully constructed book. I have kept the copy that my children grew up with. Each one of the three found different interpretations in the illustrations. It is a lot of fun!

  10. mashadutoit
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 18:06:14

    I wish I had known this book as a child. So many worlds within worlds. 🙂

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