Friday, December 10, 2010

28. That's Cool!

Star Wars Millennium Falcon YT-1300: A 3-D Owner's Guide, written by Ryder Windham, illustrated by Chris Trevas and Chris Reiff, Scholastic, $21.99, ages 9-12, 24 pages. An owner's manual might seem like a dud as a gift, but not this one. Readers will be pouring through every note and diagram, trying to decide if they want to upgrade to a Class 0.5 hyperdrive, revamp the cockpit to fly solo or take the ship off of autopilot. In this cleverly designed user's guide to the Millennium Falcon, would-be pilots go to the heart of the starship and peel away 10 cross-sections, beginning with weapons, sensors, defense systems, propulsion units and pilot controls, and moving on to crew quarters, life support systems, cargo holds, the main computer and the hull. Within each cross-section are detailed renderings of everything from a twin-gun laser canon used to track fast-moving objects to a tractor beam that can lift objects weighing 100 metric tons.

Pilots are told to keep an eye out for updates as new features will appear as they become available. There's also a guarantee that every falcon is state-of-the-art, though by the looks of a few messages blinking on the book's paperboard pages, there's a glitch or two in the system. L. Calrissian points out that computer droid brains tend to bicker and muck things up, and when the guide concludes it's review with an assurance that all falcons are fast, durable and easy to pilot, Solo responds with a disgruntled, "Ha!"  Really, Hans? What was all that in the movie about the falcon going "point five past lightspeed"? Even if the falcon is a hunk of scrap, your fans will be so giddy, they'll be asking you to roll it out by Christmas dinner. …There is a falcon that comes with this guide, right? 

Bibs to Go, designed by Dwell Studio, Blue Apple Books, $12.99, 20 bibs. Bib your babe wherever you go in these adorable coverups that look like designer textiles. Now, you'll not only keep food stains at bay but be fashionable too. Every bib features playful images in simple silhouettes, from zoo animals to cars to carrots, and comes in threes, so you have more than one chance to use a design. Designed as a carry-along, the pad has 20 water-resistant, disposable bibs (which also may be recyclable) and is as light as a rectangle of styrofoam. Tuck the pad between the seat of your car for those spontaneous feedings or for nights when you dine out. Simply tear off the bib your babe wants from a perforated line at the top and place it around your his/her neck. Push together interlocking slits at the ends, then secure it with an enclosed sticker. Then listen to the people seating around you "ooh" and "ahh."

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