In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Peg Perego Book Plus Review

Disappointingly heavy, bulky, and all around average with a difficult set-up
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Price:   $500 List
Pros:  Reversible, upright seat, large sunshade & storage, easy one-hand fold, stands folded
Cons:  Cumbersome, bulky, large folded, low seat height, difficult set up/poor documentation
Manufacturer:   Peg Perego
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Ellis  ⋅  Nov 9, 2013
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55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease-of-Use - 30% 6
  • Maneuverability - 25% 6
  • Safety - 15% 6
  • Quality / Durability - 15% 5
  • Weight/Folded Size - 10% 5
  • Ease-of-Setup - 5% 1

The Skinny

The Peg Perego Book Plus has been discontinued.

The Peg Perego Book Plus is a premium stroller that certainly comes with many of the standard bells and whistles, including versatility. However, actually making use of each feature might be unlikely and lugging this bulky thing around left us wondering how this stroller stood out among its many competitors. When compared to the full array of 21 strollers we tested in this review, we discovered this stroller to be just average in its ease-of-use, maneuverability, safety, quality, and heft.


Our Analysis and Test Results

With a sticker that reads "Made in Italy," Peg Perego puts forth an image of old-world quality. With a sturdy aluminum chassis and Soft Fabric Collection, Perego really attempted to make the Book Plus an all-around stroller. It has a fully reclining, reversible seat; a full coverage sun canopy that reaches all the way to the belly bar; a cozy foot muff that also aids in creating a bassinet environment; a huge, easy to access storage basket and a comfortable and easy to adjust parent handle. These nice features were, unfortunately, handicapped by the challenge of figuring out how all the features and functions work when the instructional documentation is difficult to interpret. Read on to find out more about our experience with this stroller.

Performance Comparison


The seat is reversible; shown here parent-facing.
The seat is reversible; shown here parent-facing.

Ease-of-Use


The Peg Perego Book Plus scored a 6 of 10 in overall Ease-of-Use during our testing. It is versatile with many nice features, including a quick-fold, a reversible seat that can be parent-facing or forward-facing, an adjustable handlebar with a wide height range of 31.5" to 42.5", and four recline positions. Including a position that is13 degrees, which is nearly flat and perfect for a newborn. As a travel system, it is compatible with the Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 car seat and accepts the car seat directly onto chassis, without special hardware.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP-SIP infant car seat on the Book's chassis  combined they function as a travel system.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP-SIP infant car seat on the Book's chassis, combined they function as a travel system.

For storage, the seat can be removed and squished down. You can load the stroller in one or two parts. By removing the seat first, it divides the weight of this heavy stroller (24 lbs 10 oz) into two pieces, which we found to be an easier process.

Folding and unfolding the Book Plus is a better than average experience with their quick-folding mechanism. It is possible to manage both fold and unfold with one-hand once you get the hang of it. However there are some prerequisites, one must first get the stroller seat in its proper fully reclined position for it to fold. Secondly the handlebar must be in the right position for it to self-stand when folded. For a tall person using the stroller, this will mean that you will always need to adjust it down each time you want to fold it. It is also necessary to position the fold-lock to the correct spot, prior to folding, so it will engage properly. Needless to say, these preparations took awhile to get used to. You fold the Book Plus by squeezing two bars together at the base of the seat and lifting simultaneously. With this maneuver, the parent handle swings over the top and the stroller collapses.

Once folded, if you want to pull it behind you, the front swivel wheels really need to be locked. Otherwise the stroller swings and sways side to side and you may find yourself getting pulled into circles if the front wheels aren't locked.

This stroller is heavy, and quite frankly very bulky when folded with the seat attached. It took up the length of an SUV's trunk, varying between 37" (parent-facing) and 44" (forward-facing). Lying flat, it peaks about 16 inches off the ground and is 24 inches wide (with the cup holder attached). Fitting this stroller into a compact car trunk was tricky and left almost no room for groceries or other items.
When folded into the self-stand configuration  the Book is quite large and bulky.
When folded into the self-stand configuration, the Book is quite large and bulky.

You can unfold it with one hand, but the seat has to be repositioned, so we recommend using both hands to unfold it more quickly. There's an audible snap once the stroller has solidly returned to the open position.

The seat has ample padding over a firm backing, with an adjustable leg rest. The included foot muff creates a cozy, enclosed environment. We were quite surprised that the depth of the included seat (where the child's bottom goes) is only 8 inches deep. In our experience a deeper seat is better as evidenced by our 2 year old tester, who was almost sliding forward out of the seat. Even with the buckles comfortably tightened it seemed like this seat just wanted to tip him out. The accessory "Pratico Seat" that Peg Perego offers is a lighter weight seat that fits onto the Book's chassis to make the stroller more suitable for on-the-go travel. It has the same weight maximum as the Book's included seat of 45 lbs and does seem to be geared towards toddlers with its rotating t-bar which could function either as a footrest or belly bar. However, the "Pratico Seat" has a $130 price tag which would be added to a stroller that is already $500.
The Practico seat is light-weight and meant for travel.
The Practico seat is light-weight and meant for travel.

Speaking of the included child seat: besides the belly bar, there is not children's tray or cup holder, unless you purchase Peg's child tray as an accessory.

Extra Large Sun Canopy
This stroller has the largest sunshade of all the products we tested, reaching all the way from the back of the seat to up and over the belly bar. The only other sunshade that we tested in our review that is of a similar size to Book's is the Orbit Baby G2. In the Book's bassinet mode, you can completely conceal baby. The canopy's fabric is soft, but loose. Which creates a bit of a bulky mess. It tended to get in our way when reclining the seat if the canopy was completely folded back. The back half of the canopy can be removed by zipper to lessen the bulk and also provide ventilation, but then the canopy's fabric begins to "sag". Overall though, we feel the benefit of a large sun shade outweighs the hassle of the extra material here. The vinyl peek-a-boo window has UVA-protection.
The full coverage sunshade is ideal for a sleeping baby or low sun angle.
The full coverage sunshade is ideal for a sleeping baby or low sun angle.

Very Large Storage Basket
The storage basket is very large and easy-to-access from all sides regardless of seat position.
We missed having a place to keep our smaller items like cell phone, sunglasses, and binky close at hand as the parent tray and child tray are not included. You can purchase their "borsa" (purse) which is meant to be hung from the Book Plus which has two hooks for hanging a purse or diaper bag from for easier access. The back bar of the storage basket is spring-loaded and folds down for easier access of items as well.
Agreeably  the very large storage basket is quite practical.
Agreeably, the very large storage basket is quite practical.

Although the stroller comes with a very light-weight "cup holder" that slides on to a peg which is on the side of the stroller, we found that this was only good for was a small water bottle. We even lost it a few times when it became completely detached during the fold-load process.

In a cafe, this stroller functions well due to its smaller footprint and higher seat, but falls short on its inadequate parent and child trays.

Maneuverability


This stroller scored a 6 of 10 in maneuverability. Fairly easy to handle on smooth, hard surfaces, it struggled off-road, but was not impossible. We felt that if its aluminum frame was tighter, it might be easier to maneuver. As is, we did experience some trouble maneuvering around obstacles and had difficulty backing the stroller out of them.

The Book Plus has 10.25" solid, rear wheels and solid, swiveling front wheels that are 6.75" with smooth turning and locking capabilities. Pushing and steering one-handed is easy. Uneven terrain was more difficult, even with the front wheel locked. It was hard to cross a 3" gap between stepping stones, and rolling over a 1.5" ledge was a no-go for us. When rolling down a 6" ledge we found that it tipped forward. This also means that it was especially challenging trying to maneuver up and down stairs, requiring considerable elbow grease. Indeed, the large wheels do help with going up stairs, but the frame flexes a lot. Which made us feel less in control during transitions.
Shown above: one of the front wheel's locking pegs fell out (and was lost) during testing.
Shown above: one of the front wheel's locking pegs fell out (and was lost) during testing.

Safety


The Book Plus scored a 6 of 10 in Safety. The sandal-friendly brakes, are easy to engage and disengage. A clever "one step" lever locks both rear wheels firmly.

Unfortunately, this stroller had a below average sideways tip over angle of 20.1 degrees. However, it had a very sturdy backwards tip over weight of 33 lbs 11 ounces.

Its 5-point harness is about average and without padding.

Quality/Durability


We were surprised at the Book's low Quality/Durability score of 5 of 10. Our initial impression was that the words "Made in Italy" would signify a product of high quality. Unfortunately, we were left disappointed.

On its exterior, the fabric immediately draws you in. It is nice and soft, but slouchy and saggy. The seat's neoprene foam material offers good padding and insulation and with the addition of the foot muff makes a cozy environ for Baby. As far as ease of cleaning the fabric, we're torn. While the neoprene repels liquids well, elbow grease and a good bit of scrubbing is necessary to clean mashed-in-foods.

When it came down to day-to-day use, the inner workings of this stroller did not impress us. We found the aluminum frame prone to flexing which made maneuvering the stroller more difficult. In addition, a little plastic peg (which is used to engage the front wheel swivel lock) fell out on one side, and is now regrettably M.I.A. Furthermore, we feel that the connection between the seat and chassis is wobbly.

Weight/Folded Size


The Book scored a 5 of 10 in Weight/Folded Size. It weighs 25 lbs 10 oz, has a large footprint, and a large fold.
The Book when folded is quite large and bulky.
The Book when folded is quite large and bulky.

Ease-of-Set-Up


This stroller took us 75 minutes to set up, exponentially longer than any other stroller we assembled in this round-up review. Not surprisingly, it had the worst documentation of any stroller in our review of 21. It is awesome that the instructional brochure is written in many different languages, but the organization of the material is poorly executed. For instance, thirty step-by-step instructions (which initially looked to be pre-assembly warnings) were discovered after we were well into assembly. We found ourselves again in a situation where the illustrations are at the beginning of the instructions, and the text is on another page. Very annoying to be constantly flipping back and forth, to say the least.

Best Application


This stroller works best when you are going for a walk from home, without having to travel in a car first. That said, it has many strong features that make getting around town with Baby quite comfortable - including its reclining seat (which does not have to be removed when folding), generous sunshade and large and easy-to-access storage basket.

Value


For its middle-of-the-road price (with regard to this review), this stroller is a decent value. However, it placed 16th out of 21 strollers with an overall score of 55/100. Doing average in terms of ease-of-use, maneuverability, safety, quality/durability, weight/folded size and abysmal in ease-of-set-up. Nonetheless, there are redeeming features such as a seat which provides a bassinet-like environment and is reversible, the handlebar has a wide adjustment, it has a quick fold feature, and a full coverage sunshade with peek-a-boo window. However, if you're looking for included extras (say, parent and child trays), the Peg Perego Book Plus does not deliver.

Conclusion


There are several other strollers with the same price point in this review that we would suggest you look at before making a buying decision: the BOB Revolution SE, the Bumbleride Indie, the Baby Jogger City Select, the Britax B-Ready and the Phil and Teds Navigator Buggy.

Other Versions and Accessories


This stroller is available in 6 different colors. Included features are the foot muff, a rain cover and the less-than-great detachable cup holder. As above, the Book's chassis accepts the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP-SIP infant car seat.

A myriad of optional accessories can be purchased separately which include: Bassinet, Child snack tray, Pratico Seat (more lightweight/compact), Borsas (diaper bags), Mosquito Netting, and Baby cushion.
The child tray accessory (shown here on Peg's Switch Four) also fits onto the Book Plus.
The child tray accessory (shown here on Peg's Switch Four) also fits onto the Book Plus.

With the Book Plus being its highest-end single stroller, Peg Perego makes five other single strollers, including the Switch Four, which is also available as a Modular System that allows for a bassinet (the cost of the stroller alone is the same as the Book Plus). The company also makes three stroller models for multiples, including the Aria Twin 60-40 (a side-by-side double stroller), the Duette SW (a tandem double), and the Triplette SW (a tandem triple, the only triple stroller we have come across online).
Peg Perego Triplette SW stroller
Peg Perego Triplette SW stroller

Video


The official Peg Perego overview video gives a good walk through of the various ways the Book Plus can be used, both with as a travel system with an infant car seat and as a stroller. Hint It's a far superior tool for setting up the stroller than their very confusing international instruction pamphlet.


Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Ellis