I absolutely love the Peg Perego Book Pop-Up. It’s like the Ferrari of strollers—a fitting comparison, considering this flashy, smooth-driving beauty is also made with painstaking care in Italy, where Peg Perego has been producing quality baby goods for close to 60 years. I think this innovative three-piece system is going to be a huge hit with parents everywhere; I know it has quickly become one of my most favorite baby items. And I’m not the only one who is smitten. Everyone who has experienced its greatness—from baby to hubby to grandparents to strangers in the park—is beyond impressed.
But before I launch into all the reasons I’m obsessed with the Book Pop-Up, let me get its one pitfall out of the way: Assembly is challenging. Once it’s put together correctly, it’s a breeze and a pleasure to use, but getting to that point takes some time and effort. The stroller comes with lots of parts; the chassis, seat and bassinet each have their own pieces that need to be assembled before use. It took my husband and I a couple hours to feel confident that we had assembled it correctly. (And I should note that this stroller arrived a few days before our wee one, so we put it together in a very well-rested, focused, prebaby state). The manual has numbered illustrations that correspond with written instructions. Unfortunately, the pictures and the written instructions are in separate sections of the manual, so it takes a lot of flipping back and forth to accomplish each step. The illustrations are decent (they’re quite Ikea-ish), but we found some of the “detail” shots and the corresponding arrows to be a little hard to follow. Luckily, the written instructions are extremely clear and thorough, so we relied on those to guide us from confusion to “aha!” moments on several occasions.
However, I can honestly say it was totally worth the hard work. The complete, fully functioning Book Pop-Up is the stroller what dreams are made of. What makes it stand out from the crowd? Here are a few of my favorite perks:
- It’s really good looking. It’s compact and modern with simple, clean lines. We get compliments on it every single time we take it for a cruise. (We have the aquamarine color, which is super vibrant and eye-catching—I’m sure the other colors are gorgeous as well.)
- It’s not just another pretty stroller—it’s actually practical! The aluminum chassis feels and looks so solid that I’m convinced it’ll last forever, yet it’s not at all bulky. It’s lightweight, closes with one hand, and it stands on its own when folded. Plus the fabric is tough and easy to wipe clean. (It can also be removed and hand washed—although getting the material off requires time and delving back into the instruction manual, and it probably isn’t necessary unless you have a really big mess.) I also appreciate the adjustable handlebar, which makes the stroller work for my short-ish self and my very tall husband.
- It drives like a dream. We’ve pushed this stroller through the park and around town, maneuvering through parking lots, boutiques, restaurants and paved trails with no problems. It’s light enough to push with one hand and hop curbs without disturbing the baby. The foot brakes are easy to tap into place and the polyurethane wheels and suspension provide a very cozy pushing and pushing/riding experience. Best of all, the remote front swivel control located on the side of the chassis lets you switch the wheels from swivel to straight without having to actually touch the wheels (yay!) and makes transitioning from grass to concrete is a piece of cake.
- It’s compact. The seat and bassinet are collapsible so the stroller can be folded with either one attached. The seat, which can be placed on the chassis to face you or away, collapses inward so the fabric is protected. (As a bit of a clean freak, I consider this a major plus!) The whole thing fits in the back of my mid-size SUV and the trunk of my husband’s Jetta with room to spare, and it doesn’t overwhelm the room when we bring it indoors. Plus, since they collapse, storing the pieces that aren’t in use isn’t cumbersome.
- The bassinet. Oh, the bassinet. This feature really won me over—and that’s saying a lot. Although they’re lovely, I never thought a pram-style bassinet was worth the investment since baby can only use it for a short time. But I was so wrong. This bassinet can be used until baby reaches 20 pounds or can roll over or push up on her hands/knees. For our family, it’s worth its weight in gold, as we’ve discovered its power as a magical baby sleep machine. In fact, our little one has completely rejected the giant, expensive wicker bassinet we bought and opts to sleep in the Book Pop-Up bassinet instead! (A bassinet stand is available through Peg Perego.) The backrest even adjusts to three positions, which is fantastic for propping up a spit-up prone baby! And when it’s placed on a flat surface, the rounded bottom lets you rock it gently, or you can pull out four feet that make it stationary. It’s just plain wonderful.
- The seat. This thing was made with baby in mind: The seat back doesn’t just recline, the whole seat actually opens for maximum comfort; the footrest is adjustable; and the five-point safety harness is easy to use, and it doesn’t pinch our little lady in the least. With a limit of 50 pounds or 43 inches tall and plenty of wiggle room, it’s sure to get plenty of use for many years.
- It comes with handy features. In addition to all of its structural perks, the Book Pop-Up also includes a detachable bassinet cover, a storage basket and canopies on the seat and bassinet. The basket holds 11 pounds, and the canopies on the seat and bassinet are more than generous enough to keep the sun out of my little girl’s eyes—plus, the seat’s canopy even has a loop to hang her favorite toy, and the bassinet canopy unzips to a mesh lining, so we can let in a breeze or peek at her sweet little face. Other accessories like a snack tray, cup holder, rain cover and mosquito net are available for purchase from Peg Perego.
- It’s compatible with our car seat. As a complete travel system, the Book Pop-Up is even more versatile! We have Peg Perego infant car seats (both a Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 and the 4-35), and they snap on and off the chassis in one smooth motion, just like the chair and bassinet.
- Our baby loves it, and we love that she’s safe in it!
At first glance, $800 may seem a little steep for a stroller; however, when I looked at all of the perks and compared the Book Pop-Up to other high-end strollers in its class, I realized the price was downright reasonable. You may be able to find a cheaper model that’s lightweight, or has an interchangeable seat/bassinet combo, or garners looks as it rolls by; however, finding a stroller that perfectly incorporates all of these features (and more) for less would prove to be difficult. Peg Perego took what parents really need and want in a stroller, and they made it a reality. And for that, I’m grateful. We’re going to be using the Book Pop-Up for many years and multiple babies, and I’ll gladly recommend it to all my friends.
To buy: buybuybaby.com