THIS is the one that turned me into that kid from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away again.

“The Force Awakens” has most certainly scratched my Star Wars itch BUT it’s got nothing on THIS, dear reader… Join me on this journey full of Christmas magic and Brother-in-Law love…

When I was a kid in elementary school there was nothing cooler to me than pop up books. I mean nothing. Action figures? Awesome! Model kits? Fantastic! Pop Up books? Unbridled JOY!

vintage cvover

The first pop up book I recall holding in my hands was one for “The Empire Strikes Back”. Sweet lord I loved that book. Never owned it though. The copy I saw was in the school library. So while  I could check it out, marvel at it for a little while I would begrudgingly have to return it so I wouldn’t be cursed with a late fee and an evil look from the librarian. The circle of life at Landmark Elementary, circa 1980. Now, thanks to my awesome brother in law, that last part can finally be flushed from my memory and replaced by Christmas magic.


This year as I sat down with my family, sharing in the fun and fellowship that comes from exchanging gifts with those that you love (that you hope won’t suck) I was handed one last wrapped wonder that was fixing to transport me to a time and place from long, long ago. I said “Thank you,” as Derek passed it too me. Little did I know how truly thankful I was about to be.


I opened the rectangular package with adult like composure but as the cover was revealed the engines of my internal time machine roared to life! My eyes locked onto the cover of this beauty: Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart. Then, I opened it and I was GONE!


Page after page, flap after flap, the most memorable moments from my childhood not only came back but surrounded me, just like the Force itself. The 7 year old me was there. Amazed! Enthralled! And I must admit, a bit rude as everyone else in the room disappeared. Sorta sorry about that, gang. Blame Derek while I continue to thank him. Now back to the book…


Each and every page is amazing in art, story and engineering. If you are a Star Wars fan and don’t have one you are totally cheating yourself out of some seriously awesome goodness. And while I truly loved and enjoyed “The Force Awakens” none of its practical or computer generated special effects can touch the ones that are popping out from these pages. A jagged and ragged looking Kylo Ren lightsaber thrashing through bulkheads and people is lackluster compare to the battery operated, LED ones wielded by Luke and Vader in the back of the book. Not even close.


Below, you can see some more of my more favorite scenes that come to life but I implore you to shop around and get one for yourself or for someone that you love. Do me a solid though and point them back here to the Toy Box. I would love to hear the stories and thoughts that you or they have after experiencing this awesome book. And again to my awesome, fantastic and beautiful brother in law, Thank You, Derek! You gave me more than a gift, you sent me on a journey through time fueled by Christmas magic and love.

Now, Go Play!

Jim 12/29/15

Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for :)
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for 🙂
Can't love these scoundrels enough!
Can’t love these scoundrels enough!

Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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