Friday, October 5, 2018

Read You Must: Star Wars Search Your Feelings

From the creative team that brought us ABC-3PO and Obi-One, Two, Three comes Seach Your Feelings, a poetry-filled exploration of the wide range of emotions experienced by humans, aliens and droids alike, brand new from Disney-Lucasfilm Press.

Starting with events from The Phantom Menace (Anakin destroying the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship while flying a Naboo starfighter to demonstrate "Excited"), Calliope Glass & Caitlin Kennedy have created a 48 page, (mainly) chronological look at the Star Wars saga in short verse poems. 

Each poem has it's own emotional theme, like Jealous, Hopeful, Calm, Surprised or Frustrated, as they flow right to the ending of The Last Jedi.

With plenty of humour and love of the Star Wars saga, the poems contextualize each feeling to a particular familiar moment from the films; the infamous trash compactor scene (Disgusted), a tantrum by Kylo Ren (Angry) and most poignantly, Luke Skywalker in exile (Lonely).

For every feeling, there is a two-page illustration by the fabulous Katie Cook. Her incredibly cute (yet still authentic) take on Star Wars characters give this book an added layer of levity. Yet somehow Cook's illustrations deepen the emotional impact of certain moments too: C-3PO has never looked sadder than he does on the "Sad" page.

Despite the adorable style of Cook's illustrations, and the obvious subject of emotions, this book is a lot of fun and probably a lot more accessible to kids than many books about feelings. It's all about feelings, of course, but it doesn't seem very "touchy-feely", if that makes any sense.
Search Your Feelings, and explore this book today!

Publisher's Recommendation: Ages 6 & up 

Also available:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Read, You Must: The Last Jedi A Junior Novel

With October being Star Wars Reads month, we're going to try to get caught up on reading and reviewing as many Star Wars books as possible. Let's face it, with The Last Jedi and Solo coming out so close together, there have been ALMOST too many new books to handle in the past year. Almost, because really is there such a thing as "too much Star Wars"? Nope.

Released earlier this year, months after the movie release, The Last Jedi A Junior Novel is a great way for middle-grade readers to look at the film from a different perspective.

With 202 pages, author Michael Kogge (The Force Awakens Junior Novel, Poe Dameron: Flight Log) offers a surprisingly serious and powerful take on the Rian Johnson screenplay. "Surprisingly serious" only because his take on The Force Awakens was so much fun to read. This time the adventure is there, but the story feels much more complex and at times somber, which is appropriate for the tone of this particular Star Wars movie.

Kogge doesn't try to gloss over or lighten up the story for young readers. Instead the author treats the story very seriously, sticking very closely to the screenplay, and respects that kids can handle the situations as presented. Nothing jumped out as missing from the movie-to-book translation, so if any key moments were omitted, they must not have been very crucial after all.

Readers will notice a few moments sprinkled throughout that are not from seen in the film, but are in most cases seen in the blu-ray Deleted Scenes. These are the "Exclusive Scenes" advertised on the cover.

The Last Jedi A Junior Novel also contains 8 pages of colour photos from the movie, which is always a fun bonus!

Basically if you loved The Last Jedi but don't get to watch it very often, here's a way to relive the movie whenever you like!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Read, You Must: Star Wars The Complete Visual Dictionary New Edition

Longtime readers of this site know how much we love the visual guides published by DK that accompany each Star Wars movie. For example here are our reviews of the Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo visual guide books.

These books are always packed with incredible photos of aliens, creatures, droids, weapons, costumes and props from the films, as well as hours of detailed information to devour.

Star Wars The Complete Visual Dictionary - New Edition is a hefty title for a hefty book! It is a combination of the most of the contents of the guide books for Episodes 1-8, includes material from Rogue One and a small amount from Solo. For a relatively new fan of the saga ready to dive into the minute details of the films, this 350+ page compendium is an amazing collection of information and images, and is absolutely required reading!

Instead of a simple reprint of each book with text updates, this book combines the images from different movies where appropriate. For example, the Rebel Alliance pilots of Rogue One and A New Hope are combined as one cohesive group. As well, since The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi occur so close to each other, there's no need for two separate entries for characters like Captian Phasma, BB-8 and General Hux.

Fans of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels may be disappointed that very little material from those series has made it in here, unlike the recent DK book Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles, which showcased images from across the films and TV shows. The only images connected to Rebels, for example, are those of Chopper as the cantankerous droid appears in Rogue One, albeit very briefly.

If you haven't already acquired the visual guides for the individual movies, then this book is absolutely a must-have!

If you already have the individual guides, the price tag may put this one in the "wish list" category. 
Either way, once this book is in your hands you will certainly spend many hours going through it!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Don't Be Scared of Are You Scared, Darth Vader?

Don't be scared of some silliness in your Star Wars!

Since Halloween itself is not really a thing in the Star Wars Galaxy (that we know of), there hasn't really been a lot of Halloweeny Star Wars storytelling over the years. There have been spooky Star Wars stories, like the 90's Galaxy of Fear book series, but Disney/Lucasfilm Press has now released what is arguably the first Star Wars Halloween picture book.

Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Adam Rex tries to answer the question of what could possibly scare the most terrifying villain in the galaxy.

Spoiler alert: not much!

Darth Vader lurks in a dark, gloomy, Dagobah-like swamp while the narrator taunts him with various not-very-scary things, trying to find the one thing that may frighten the Dark Lord of the Sith. Then others join in, more from the world of classic horror movies than from Star Wars, to try to scare him.

Things get really silly and fun but it's difficult to describe without revealing a few of the surprises that await the reader. 

On a quick flip-through this appears to be a bleak, even dismal, looking book. However, the escalating attempts to scare Vader, along with his deadpan responses, are really enjoyable in contrast to the darkness. Clearly it would help if someone in your household can talk like Vader when reading this one aloud! 

Rex's not-very-scary monster artwork is reminiscent of early MAD magazine cartoonists like Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis. High praise indeed!

Forget about this book fitting into the rest of Star Wars. It doesn't. Are You Scared, Darth Vader? exists in its own little world. It almost feels like it could be dialogue from brave kids meeting Darth Vader at Disneyland. 

This book is the Star Wars equivalent to a "Fractured Fairy Tale".

Have a laugh and enjoy this twisted take on classic characters. Happy (early) Halloween!

Since we always like to remember Star Wars books from the past, here's a few items that could also almost be considered Star Wars Halloween books...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Canadians in Star Wars!

Star Wars began as an American movie, filmed mostly in the UK, with mostly American & British cast, crew and everything else. 

Mostly, but not all. A few of us Canadians sneak in there now and then too!

If you follow our Twitter @SWKidscast or facebook @StarWarsKidscast accounts (please do if you don't already!) you may already know this. Over the past week or so we've been celebrating one Canadian contribution to Star Wars each day as we count down to Canada Day (July 1).

There are far more notable Canadian contributors than we realized and should've started this much earlier! However, there's always next year. And please let us know if we missed somebody! And use the hashtag #StarWarsEh

Here's a recap of week one of our celebration...
Anakin/Vader actor Hayden Christensen!

E.K. Johnston, author of Ahsoka!

Biggs Darklighter was Canadian!

Catherine Winder was vital in shaping The Clone Wars

Gone too early, but not forgotten. Artist Gene Day.

This includes a LOT of hardworking, talented people!

Lucasfilm's (and Winnipeg's) Pablo Hidalgo

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