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Book Review: Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure
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Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up AdventureStar Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure
By Matthew Reinhart and Lucasfilm
Orchard Books/Hachette
Release Date: October 16, 2012

It’s a rare delight to find a product that can bring out the 8-year-old in even the most jaded adult. Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure is a sure bet to send your mind spinning with child-like wonder. You’ll begin your journey of discovery in this book with a sense of amusement that quickly transitions into an immersive curiosity. Pop-ups lead to further pop-ups which occasionally cover even more pop-ups. This book is wonderfully engineered to keep you excavating eac page for more treasures.

The book serves as a high-level encyclopedia of the pre-Episode 4 Star Wars universe. The text is obviously not the draw here, but what’s included is informative and relevant. Each pop includes a brief history and background on the character, ship, or monster in question. The level of detail is impressive for a pop-up book that could just as easily say nothing and still sell incredibly well.

I can’t begin to fathom how Matthew Reinhart conceptualizes his pop-up books. His work is lovingly crafted and his passion for Star Wars is evident on every page. The result is phenomenal. How It’s Made now has to feature this book because I need to know. All the major players are here in pop-up glory: Yoda, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Amidala, Palpatine, Mace Windu, and others all make an appearance. Also included are various ships, vehicles, droids, supporting cast, locales and villains from the prequels and Clone Wars.

The interior artwork is vibrantly colored and textured with a watercolor appearance. It immediately evokes memories of old storybooks. The art’s not highly detailed, but the effect is perfect for a popup book. A slick, ultra-detailed, comic book style would have undoubtedly looked cool, but it also would have detracted from the classical effect. It’s a joy to take in Reinhart’s unique vision of the Star Wars universe. Even the flat, unpopped illustrations are eye-catching, which is saying a lot given the high quality pop-ups in this book.

The promotional text states that the book includes “over 25 pops.” The cynic in me thought, “why can’t they just say there’s 26 pops?” I figured I’d make a game out of hunting down the fabled 26th pop. That notion quickly faded as I dived into the book and was absorbed in idyllic Star Wars discovery. I learned a quick lesson: Matthew Reinhart books are no place for cynicism. This book has over 32 pops. I say “over 32” because even that’s a conservative count depending on your definition of a pop-up. Of these 32, here are the three pops that sent me into a fanboy squee.

Top 3 Coolest Pops

3 – Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar Binks

Lurking in an unassuming corner of the alien and monster page is a pop-up of Star Wars’ almost unanimously hated character. Jar Jar sticks out his froggy tongue and welcomes your hatred. It’s enough to drive you to rage-shred the pop-up and use the remnants for ferret litter, but your inner collector forces you to back off with whimpering vow to never unfold that pop again. Matthew Reinhart went straight for the gut punch with the Gungans and I applaud him. A lesser man would’ve relegated the Gungans to a brief mention with perhaps a tiny, flat illustration. Yes, the Gungan accents are ridiculous. Yes, Jar Jar’s clumsy heroism is a genital wart in Star Wars canon. But Jar Jar and the Gungans unquestionably played a pivotal role in Episode 1, which makes them well-deserving of this taunting pop-up. However, I am appalled that Jar Jar’s pop is larger than Queen Amidala’s perplexingly understated, sidebar pop. This is the girl who served as the catalyst for the heel turn that shook the galaxy! And she’s hot.

2 – Acklay


I almost went with Threepio’s pop that transitions from the assorted pile of wires and bolts to the shiny golden boy of protocol droids. It is a nice tribute to one of my favorite characters. But, I’m biased, so instead I’ll go with Acklay, the Nocturnal Nightmare Beast of Vendaxa. This towering pop-up, is second only to the Darth Vader pop in sheer wow factor. You open the page and the Acklay grows absurdly large, hulking over the entire page. Obi Wan bested one of these things with his hands tied—he’s a bad motherfucker.

1 – The Entire Last Page

Jedi Warriors

Maybe picking a whole page is a cop-out, but you can’t choose just one from here. Upon opening the last page you are besieged with holy awesomeness as Anakin transitions into a giant Darth Vader pop with a lightsaber that symbolically goes from blue to red. The light-up lightsaber is the crown jewel of this book that’s certain to send prospective buyers scurrying to bookstore to make the purchase. And this isn’t even the coolest pop-up on the page! That award goes to the unexpectedly large Jedi Warriors of Light pop. As amazing as Darth is, you know it’s coming—it’s only advertised everywhere you see this book. The Jedi Warrior pop seemingly comes from nowhere, buried beneath the Jedi Council pop. It gave me a nerdgasm, the hallmark reaction of all Star Wars schwag worth some hard-earned coin. For the record, I thought that the bad ass double-pop illustrating Obi-Wan and Anakin’s epic showdown in Episode 3 was nearly as cool. Not to mention the other surprises waiting to be uncovered on this page.

My main concern with Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure is the delicacy of the book. The cover easily accumulates scratches, bends, and dents as your overzealous friends flip through the pages. Many of the pop-ups, especially the large ones, are prone to bends and folds. The General Grievous pop-up quickly developed bends in his lightsabers and hands after just a few flip-throughs. I suspect that the Acklay will be the next victim to the bends—closing that page is fraught with disaster. I guess some degree of fragility is to be expected with a pop-up book. However, if you want to keep this book in good condition, I’d definitely supervise kids as they unfold their way into the goodness.

I’m hardly pop-up book connoisseur, but the engineering involved in the design of this book is mind-boggling. I definitely don’t remember anything like this from the pop-up books when I was a kid. Star Wars fans of all ages will appreciate the workmanship involved in producing this book. It has to be seen to be believed.

Simply put: if you’re into Star Wars, then you need this insanely cool book.

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