Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King (a Pop-Up Book) - Hamid Rahmanian, Simon Arizpe
You’ve probably never seen a book like this before. Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King (Fantagraphics, $39.99) is a pop-up book that retells the Iranian myth of the monstrous tyrant Zahhak and his defeat by the noble youth Feraydun. The fantastic art featured within is courtesy of Guggenheim fellow Hamid Rahmanian, drawn from his work adapting the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings. But it’s the pop-up engineering, designed by Simon Arizpe, that makes this book dizzying. Not only do some sections literally erupt from the page, but others unfold as booklets to continue the story, complete with smaller pop-up designs within. Myths remain popular fodder for the imagination, from Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of Norse mythology this year to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Literary Universe. But with nations across the world (including our own) turning to fear and nationalism, our responsibility to move past Norse and Greek mythology and learn the stories of other countries—their similarities, and their differences—is more crucial than it’s ever been. Kids will love this book, but adults will learn something from it too.