Due to the intricacy of his mechanisms, Meggendorfer’s books could
easily be damaged by eager children. He introduces Comic Actors with
this cautionary poem:
Now Children, dear, pray come with me
And see some comic sights,
You all will laugh with mirth and glee,
Or should do so by rights.
When you to them your hand apply
These figures dance and caper
“’Tis really hard” I hear you cry
“To think them only paper.”
The men and creatures here you find
Are lively and amusing,
Your fingers must be slow and kind
And treat them well while using.
But more of them we must not tell,
The pictures would be jealous,
So turn the leaves and use them well
And don’t be over zealous.
Meggendorfer’s masterpiece was Internationaler Zirkus (ca. 1888).
Playing on the popular theme of circuses and menageries, Meggendorfer
created a book that features six acts from the circus. It unfolds in an
accordion fashion so that it can be seen at once in its entirety. A flap
on each panel pulls down to reveal different three-dimensional scenes.