Fairies, elves and unicorns, oh my!

Catch fairies, elves, gnomes, mermaids, sprites, unicorns and a host of other magical creatures in their entire 3-D splendor in another impressive pop-up book from Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

The artists who created the Encyclopedia Prehistorica series about dinosaurs and other real creatures return with a summer fantasy, Fairies and Magical Creatures (Candlewick, 12 pages, $27.99, age 5 and older).

The book is fanciful and informative, with historical content regarding imaginary creatures packed in and around the more than 30 eye-catching pop-up illustrations.

The tooth fairy, for instance, evolved from a 17th century French tale of a fairy mouse that hides under the pillow of a tyrant and then knocks out his teeth. Who knew the gentle tradition of offering rewards for children's baby teeth had such a violent origin?

Sabuda and Reinhart arrange the book in loose categories: the fairy realm, elves and gnomes, enchanted animals and sea creatures, among them. Each double-page spread includes a large, central pop-up surrounded by at least four fold-out books with multiple, miniature pop-ups. For example, the "Enchanted Menagerie" page is dominated by a large, 3-D unicorn, surrounded by four small books focused on magical animals from various parts of the world.

The book of course will appeal to lovers of fairy tales and fantasy, but it has such a strong historical element that all who love literature and its origins will find it fascinating.