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The Unseen University Cut-Out Book    by Terry Pratchett, Alan Batley & Bernard Pearson order for
Unseen University Cut-Out Book
by Terry Pratchett
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Discworld fans, rejoice - you can now carefully cut out and glue together all seven buildings of your very own Unseen University with this kit in a book. There's magic in these pages!

In his Everything Under One Roof foreword, Pratchett informs us that 'the Library is so extensive that whole species have evolved to live in it', and that it's 'a storehouse of knowledge, on the premise that it's a good idea to keep knowledge carefully locked up somewhere so that idiots don't run around trying to make weapons of it.' He also tells us that he 'used to love cut-out books.'

In It's All in the Mind, Bernard Pearson explains how he loves to sculpt buildings, and worked on this one for eighteen months, after which Alan Batley brought it 'to the most difficult medium of paper.' After that, a Getting Started chapter covers equipment, hints and tips (such as how to achieve accuracy in cutting and scoring), and offers a key to the artwork. Then on to detailed instructions for each building - from the Library to the High Energy Magic Building and the Clocktower - with a plan showing how to put them all together.

There's a parchment warning too (important where magic is involved): 'Beyond thys page / lies the great / Unseen University. / Let blade be sharpe / and straightedge / un-notched lest the / Dungeon Dimentions / break through.'

I recommend The Unseen University Cut-Out Book as the perfect gift for the Discworld fan(atic) who has all the books and craves more, or for anyone - like Terry Pratchett himself - who remembers with nostalgia a pre-TV childhood when putting together a cut-out railway absorbed them for many pleasurable hours.

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