Animal Origami Adventure : John Montroll

Dover Publications softback books, 21*28cms 96 sheets of paper $14.95 ISBN 0-486-43923-2

This boxed package continues Dover’s repackaging of earlier Montroll books. Each of the three books is 48 pages and contains designs from “Origami for the Enthusiast” and “Animal Origami for the Enthusiast”. They are entitled “Wild Animals”, “Sea Creatures” and “Birds and Insects”. For the origami enthusiast, if you have the source books, there is absolutely nothing new to be had. Even the photos of the models are originals, and, it must be said, poorly folded. Such as shame that Dover didn’t invest in the services of an expert to fold fresh examples to a high standard.

If you don’t have the source books, these represent a cheap and easy way to dip your fingers into the awesome range of techniques and designs that Montroll unleashed in his younger days. To the average reader of the Tanteidan magazine, the designs may seem pretty straight-forward, but step back in time over 20 years and this was cutting edge complex material. Whatever aesthetic quibbles you might have, Montroll’s contribution to creative origami is vast and should be fully appreciated.

However, at this price, the package is likely to attract newcomers to origami, spurred on with sales lines such as “3 books of projects from basic to advanced”. What will they fi nd? Well, what they won’t find is any kind of guide as to the best order to tackle the projects, nor any general introduction to origami or folding techniques. The only design which I’d put in today’s “simple” category would be the “Fish” and even that has instructions such as “inside-reverse fold the inner layer”. The rest of the designs fall into the intermediate to complex areas. I’d imagine most beginners would struggle to complete more than a few designs from the entire package.

The original titles made it plain they were “for the Enthusiast”, the new edition pretends they’re suitable for all. I’ve just seen a review on the Net saying “this is the perfect kit for the beginner“. As a rich source of folding material for those who are new to Montroll, this is a “must buy”. If you have Montroll’s books, I’d buy it, keep the paper and give the books out to promising young folders at local meetings, stressing the historical context. For newcomers, I’d advise them to steer clear until they have a sound grasp of origami symbols