Origami Dinosaurs/Aquarium: Michael LaFosse

Origami Dinosaurs
Boxed pack ISBN 0-8048-3908-5

Origami Aquarium
Boxed pack ISBN 0-8048-3904-2

More origami packages from Tuttle! This time you get a wide, thin box containing two 32-page illustrated booklets and a more than adequate 96 sheets of folding paper. Both volumes are identical in format. The paper is fine for trying out the designs, although one wonders where the figure of 96 sheets came from? The two booklets in each box are 32 page volumes 15cms square and it’s clear on flicking through all four books that they make a slightly higher demand on the reader’s folding abilities than you might expect from the tone of the packaging. Blintz bases, frog bases, squash/collapse moves, reverses – there’s plenty to keep a modestly experienced folder busy. I fear that a raw beginner might find it hard going – there’s a very basic page devoted to the symbols, you’re expected to pick up the required techniques as you go.

Due to the size of the page, some of the diagrams have been condensed more than would be ideal, which can only add to the perceived complexity. However, there are simple designs in there, with one (the traditional sailboat) inexplicably cropping up as the last model in book two! Most designs are by the author, who has no hesitation in using scissors to achieve a more complex perceived result. As you’d expect with a designer of LaFosse’s calibre, there are interesting little folding ideas to be found along the way, if you know what to look for. A street price of £6 seems reasonable.

As with the other Tuttle books, packaging seems somewhat “enhanced” for such tiny booklets, but throw the box away and keep them in your pocket on a long train journey, they are fun. So, perhaps not classics, but someone needs to write this type of book and nobody is more experienced or talented than LaFosse to do so, providing he also writes classics like “Origamido” as well! Far better than a collection of trad or ripped-off designs drawn by a jobbing illustrator. I also know from bitter personal experience to set aside any control over the finished project as soon as you sign the contract! I should also add that these reviews are from the (somewhat cynical) perspective of an experienced folder and not from someone simply wanting a colourful gift for a friend.