Thursday, August 27, 2015

Read, You Must: Little Golden Books go Star Wars!

For over a half-century Little Golden Books have been a staple of North American children’s bookshelves with their distinct style and classic tales.

Star Wars fans have been treated to the odd Golden Book in the past but never before in such an ambitious way! Random House has recently published adaptations of all 6 current Star Wars films as Little Golden Books, each full of brand new, but retro-styled, artwork! 

The whimsical, colourful style of the illustrations makes these feel like they could be from the 1960’s or 70's instead of 2015. Even with different illustrators involved the fact that these books are brought to life through cartoonish paintings really puts things into one cohesive story. By not using photos from the films, the more modern-looking prequel tales blend smoothly with the stories of the original trilogy. Everything has an equally vintage look to it. 

Even the writing at times feels a bit “retro” like when Darth Vader is momentarily referred to just as “Darth” in Geof Smith’s take on A New Hope. Back before Episode 1 came out in 1999 many of us had no idea that Darth was a title given to Sith so it was widely assumed Darth was Lord Vader’s first name, like Bob or Fred. Pre-1999, referring to Vader as Darth seemed as natural as saying just Luke, Han or Chewie. We know better now!

The writing is fun and fast but occasionally suffers as there’s a LOT of story to try to compact into heavily-illustrated 24 pages. Key dramatic moments are somewhat lost (the destruction of the planet Alderaan is barely mentioned) or omitted entirely (Leia killing Jabba the Hutt). Some of these cuts are for sensitivity to the very young readers and some are simply for space. Overall though the key plot points and scenes are there. 

Since most books for this age are meant to be read TO kids as much as by kids, it’s up to the reader to add the drama, the intensity, character voices and sound effects. 

If you are already familiar with the movies, these re-tellings are a fun and entertaining way to revisit the stories in a brand new way. For very young younglings these may be a wonderful way to introduce the saga we love so much.

Want more? The Force Awakens and other Star Wars titles are scheduled for release soon from Little Golden Books! More info coming soon!

Recommended for readers aged 2-5

Here are some of the earlier Star Wars Golden Books:


Friday, May 8, 2015

Read, You Must: LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia (Updated)

New from DK comes the “Updated and Expanded” LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia! 

Building (brick by brick?) on the 2011 edition, this updated volume includes many new characters, particularly those from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

Each character gets one page for a large photo, trivia and history of that character’s LEGO past. For characters that change significantly from film-to-film, there are multiple profiles. For example LEGO has made many versions of Luke Skywalker in his Tatooine “farmboy” outfit, so they’re all on the same page. When Luke has a different look, like his X-Wing pilot gear, he gets a new page.

Looking at how LEGO’s take on certain characters has changed over the years is just one of the ways to enjoy this book. Like many other DK LEGO Star Wars books, this comes with an exclusive minifig! With this book you get a version of Boba Fett, based on early pre-production concept art by Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie.
Unlike the wonderful recent LEGO Star Wars In 100 Scenes, this focuses squarely on the individual characters but does keep them in chronological order with their movie or TV appearances. At the end of the book is a whole section of characters that fall into the Legends category (not exactly part of the official Star Wars continuity) and some behind-the-scenes info too.

If you already have the previous LEGO Star Wars Character Encylcopedia, this isn’t a “must have” book, but it does offer a fair amount of new info, character profiles and of course, the exclusive minifig. If you missed that earlier book though and you love LEGO Star Wars, you’ll want to get this one right away!

From the Publisher: The updated and expanded ultimate guide to the minifigures of the LEGO Star Wars galaxy DK's LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded now includes many more new LEGO Star Wars minifigures! Discover incredible LEGO Star Wars facts, such as which minifigure is the rarest and which can be found in the most LEGO sets. This updated and expanded edition contains 72 additional pages of new minifigures and includes an exclusive minifigure to add to your collection.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Star Wars Day: May the Fourth at Disney Store

Just got the word from our friends at Disney Store about their plans to celebrate May the Fourth (aka. Star Wars Day). Please note that some of these special offers may only apply within the United States. Please check with your local Disney Store location or online if, like me, you're outside the US. -Chris

To celebrate Star Wars Day, Disney Store will offer 30% off the entire Star Wars assortment both in-store and online starting May 1, 2015, through May 10, 2015.

Shop for all your favorite Disney Store Star Wars gear on Twitter via a digital product showcase launching May 1. Be sure to follow @DisneyStore and @StarWars on Twitter for more details!

The first 100 guests who make a purchase at their local Disney Store in the U.S. on Star Wars Day will receive a special Star Wars pin (limit one per guest per store).*

A special Stormtrooper Watch will be available for $8 with any purchase in-store and online, only on Star Wars Day.

On Monday, May 4, 2015, Disney Store locations nationwide will have an exciting atmosphere as music and clips play from the Star Wars films and television series. Guests will be able to take part in Star Wars-themed in-store events including:

o   Star Wars: A New Hope Story Time – Guests will receive a free Star Wars Page Clip if they attend*

o   Star Wars: Ways of the Force – An event where guests learn how to use the Force and help to fly a virtual X-wing

o   Learn to Draw R2-D2 – Guests leave with their very own drawing of this lovable droid

o   Spontaneous entertainment such as Trivia will also take place

* All giveaways are subject to availability. Outlet Disney Stores will only host spontaneous entertainment.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Read, You Must: Ultimate Star Wars

When I first heard about Ultimate Star Wars from DK, I was doubtful any book could live up to that title. Even the incredibly in-depth volumes of the past have had fairly boring titles like Star Wars Encyclopedia or Star Wars Chronicles. To call a book ULTIMATE Star Wars is a pretty bold move. 

I’m happy to say it deserves its title!

Ultimate Star Wars isn’t specifically a children’s book but it is accessible to Star Wars fans of any age. I would’ve loved this book as a kid (ok, I do now too)! At 320 pages it’s a hefty coffee-table book filled with detailed information and TONS of photos covering the Star Wars saga films and the major events and characters from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels TV shows. 

Every page spread is either crammed full of details, photos or both to devour. To say there’s a LOT in here doesn’t really cover it.

With four notable Star Wars authors involved, including previous Star Wars Kidscast guest Adam Bray (Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide, What Makes A Monster?), Daniel Wallace (Sabine: My Rebel Sketch Book, The Bounty Hunter Code), Ryder Windham (Ezra’s Gamble and many, many more) and Tricia Barr (, Wynde) there is more information here than I’ll have time to read anytime soon balanced with hundreds of illustrative photos.

No single book could cover everything there is to know about the Star Wars galaxy but for die-hard fans of any age looking for a beautiful reference book  - or for new and returning fans excited by the upcoming movies - Ultimate Star Wars is a must-have!

From the publisher:
Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars, and Rebels™. Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.

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