Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher

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Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher

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Buy Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Space the final frontier, you become the voyagers with 'Convertible Spaceship', a book that not only contains a story, but also changes into a playmat and a spaceship.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 7 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9781782094975

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When is a book, not a book? When it is also a playmat and also a spaceship. With ‘Convertible Spaceship’ you get all three; a book that folds out into a playmat or into a spaceship. Can I hear the excitement from here?

Experimenting on children is rightly frowned upon, but when you are reviewing ‘Convertible Spaceship’, it is called for. When you unpack this book you will need to think about your manual handling training as it is pretty big. The size of this book can make it a little confusing as to who it is aimed at; it is too large for a small toddler to handle alone, but the story may be too basic for an older child. Thankfully I had a 3, 5 and 8 years old to test the book out on and the answer to who liked it the most? All three.

Books are already portals into the imagination; I often see children being inspired what to play by a book. With ‘Convertible Spaceship’ they can actually physically play with the book itself as well as being inspired. It comes on strong card and is a large size (a squared off A3ish). Each page is bound with red fabric binding which is strong enough so that the book can be moved around and this is going to be needed. Once you have read through the story it does not take long to realise there is more to this book than just the written word. Lay the book out flat and suddenly the story is spread across the floor, but it is also a playmat. Suddenly, the narrative acts as a guide to new adventures and places to visit.

A book and a playmat, brilliant; but there is more. On the opposite side of the story are the markings of a spaceship. Stand the different elements of the book on their side and you get a little space shuttle that a toddler can sit in and imagine they are flying through space. The illustrations look great as the little shuttle has a look of the real thing, but with plenty of kid friendly colours.

The issue with having three elements is what to play with first? All three of the boys I tried the book on loved the playmat feature. They had to bring their own toys, but the book folds out to reveal wormholes and planets galore; it is the space equivalent of the car mats I used to have as a child. The stand-up spaceship was also very popular, but due to the size it was only the three year old who could get in to pilot said shuttle. It is worth noting that although the book is made of robust cardboard and good binding, it cannot be thrown around too much. Supervision may be needed if the book is going to last, the three year old was very intent on dragging the shuttle around the floor and that put the book under strain.

For a book it is perhaps a shame that it is the story itself that is the weakest element. It is a very simple tale of a space voyage and not much deeper. It was enough to capture the 3-5 year olds, but any older child may be a little bored. The size of ‘Convertible Spaceship’ alone and its minimal 7 pages will probably mean that you will not be using it as a bedtime story (unless you are trying to improve your upper body strength). Therefore, the fact that the story is not the greatest is not a huge issue. The book's unique selling point is that is also two other things and for this reason kids will love it. Who wants to read when you can fly a spaceship?

If this book appeals then you might like to try Journey to the Moon by Lucio and Meera Santoro and The Great Moon Confusion by Richard Byrne.

Buy Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher at Amazon.com.

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