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Kidsday reporters meet Matthew Reinhart

Pop-up book author Matthew Reinhart in his Manhattan

Pop-up book author Matthew Reinhart in his Manhattan studio with Kidsday reporters, from left, Emily Baker, Caitlin Denburg, Nicholas Mattheus and Anthony Fritz, from Port Jefferson Station. Photo Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We interviewed Matthew Reinhart, a pop-up book artist, who recently published “Disney*Pixar: A Pop-Up Celebration.” His studio in Manhattan is shared with several other artists and creative people. Each person has his or her own office space and there is a giant shared room for them to work together. Matthew’s work space is small and comfortable. Nicholas could imagine working there with no distractions from others but also having people nearby to talk to sometimes. Matthew told us he loves having other creative people around him all the time because they learn from each other. He enjoys the opportunity for teamwork.

Matthew was inspired by and apprenticed with Robert Sabuda. In 2005, they worked together on Matthew’s first “dream book,” “Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up.” He said that even though there are fewer pop-up book artists today, he’s excited that there are some younger artists coming up.

He showed us the paper pop-up models and computer artwork for a new book he’s working on based on Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” We were amazed that he does all of the work himself with some help from his assistant, Nicole. After he finishes a book and it’s approved by the studio, the pages and pieces are printed, and then assembled by about 100 people, each one assembling the same part over and over again.

Matthew is a busy artist. He’s also working on another pop-up book based upon Harry Potter’s world.

Caitlin asked how he got involved with Pixar. He’s always been a big fan, and he was involved with Disney, creating “Jungle Book: A Pop-up Adventure,” “Frozen: A Pop-up Adventure,” “Disney Princess: A Magical Pop-up World,” so Pixar invited him to work on their book.

Emily asked about hidden messages. Matthew told us that there are “Easter eggs” in each of his books. On each page of the Disney*Pixar book, he’s hidden Mickey Mouse’s silhouette. Somewhere in there are his niece and nephew’s names, but we’re still looking. As a tribute to the original Pixar studio room, which was A113, you can find that hidden on each page as well. Because he is such a huge fan of “Star Wars,” he’s put himself in his “Star Wars” books as an “Easter egg.”

Nicholas asked if Matthew doodles when he’s on the phone. He said that he does work when he’s on the phone, and he doodles all the time. He said that his school books as a kid were filled with doodles, which didn’t please his mom or his teachers.

Anthony asked where Matthew thinks he would be now if he had continued with medical school. He answered that he wanted to be a plastic surgeon and that he would probably still be drawing when he wasn’t working, but he wouldn’t be as happy as he is now. He also said, with a smile, that he probably wouldn’t make people very happy. Since he likes monsters, he would probably have attached extra eyes or antennae to his patients.

We found Matthew to be interesting, warm and welcoming. He gave us huge chocolate chip cookies from a local bakery, spent lots of time answering our questions, and as an extra special treat, he gave us copies of his Pixar book, which he then autographed for us. (Emily already had her own copy, so he gave her a copy of his “Frozen” book.)

Look for Matthew Reinhart’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas” pop-up book, which will be available for Christmas 2018.

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