Monday, July 21, 2014

Learn Well, You Will: New Star Wars Workbooks

Workman Publishing recently launched Star Wars Workbooks, a new line of educational workbooks to help teach younglings. There are three titles for each age/grade level (Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade) focusing on topics of reading, writing and mathematics.

From a Star Wars fan perspective these books are a LOT of fun and feature not only the main characters and planets but also surprise appearances like the Duloks from the 80’s Ewoks cartoon, the Jedi younglings from The Clone Wars. It’s great to see the creators did their Star Wars homework too!

The cartoon artwork throughout each title is superb, often cute and always colorful. The Preschool and Kindergarten books have a visual style reminiscent of the original Clone Wars series and the “older” books remind me of the look of vintage Scooby-Doo or SuperFriends. These are compliments indeed. Looking through these titles makes me long to see more 2-D animation in the Star Wars universe.

Most important, though, is how educationally-sound are they? Do these workbooks...work? These titles are from the creators of Brain Quest and have been crafted to work with U.S. “Common Core” curriculum and reinforce classroom learning. Having discused them with teachers and other parents the educational value these books offer becomes clear. The hook is Star Wars but the strength of these books is truly their lesson content. 

I look forward to working with these with my child and recommend them to other parents as well. As the tagline says on each back cover (in Yoda-ese) "Learn well, you will."

-Chris @SWKidscast

For more information visit Workman Publishing.

For more Star Wars-themed educational resources visit Star Wars In the Classroom.






 Here's a look at other Star Wars educational books both classic and current:



 



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars


"Not sure what a 'factivity' is, am I. Fun though, it is."
DK Publishing has a fun, new line of activity books for kids called the Ultimate FACTIVITY Collection. Titles in this series feature Spider-Man, LEGO Chima & LEGO City but most interesting here of course is the Star Wars book!

Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars is 96 pages of Star Wars facts, trivia, games, puzzles, how-to-draw, and stickers galore - more than 500! Most of them have a place inside the book but there are many other “extra” stickers too. Like most DK books this one is filled with photos of the characters, costumes & creatures from the six Star Wars films but this is no mere “sticker book” - there’s plenty to read and do here thanks to authors David Fentiman and Sadie Smith.

There are pages for drawing Darth Vader, a lightsaber duel, and even designing the inside of the Sarlacc creature from Return of the Jedi. There’s also a place for you to create your own starfighter and planet and to write your own Star Wars tales.

The book contains a “Journey Across Naboo” two-page spread like a board game and has many trivia tidbits about Padmé & Jar Jar’s home-world. Unfortunately it isn’t a fold-out or tear-out page so actually playing it would be challenging. You’d have to have something heavy holding the book open or carefully cut the pages out.

If you’re looking for a good rainy-day activity book, or a collection of new Star Wars trivia to quiz your friends, check out the Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars.

Further reading: for more Star Wars drawing fun check out Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars and

For more activities see our reviews of Star Wars Folded Flyers and Star Wars Thumb Doodles.

Did You Know? Star Wars activity books have been around almost as long as Star Wars itself! Here's a few classics from 1978-79!




Saturday, June 28, 2014

Phineas and Ferb Star Wars Special July 26th (US)

It was announced a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away?) but now here's a sneak peek at Disney's Phineas and Ferb Star Wars Special!

In the special episode Phineas and Ferb are living happily on Tatooine near Luke Skywalker when the plans for blowing up the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands!
Complicating matters, Candace -- the boys' sister -- has a Stormtrooper-like intent on "busting rebels" who chase Phineas and Ferb across the galaxy in hopes of retrieving the Death Star plans.

That's all we'll say here...no need to spoil the surprises, but if you really want to know more, you could read the synopsis posted on StarWars.com 

For US audiences the special will premiere on Disney Channel July 26th, 2014.  Canadian audiences will likely see it on Disney XD. (Check their website for confirmation.) UPDATE: Canadian viewers will have to wait until August 8 at 5:30 pm ET/PT, and it will be on Family Channel, not Disney XD Canada. International viewers should check their local listings.

And here's the official trailer...May the Ferb be with you!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Read, You Must: LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary (Updated & Expanded)

LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary takes a detailed look at the characters, creatures, playsets, vehicles and almost everything else in the LEGO Star Wars toy line. “Updated and Expanded” from the 2009 edition, this hardcover guide adds five years (and 48 pages) of new LEGO fun!

Back when the first version was written, The Clone Wars TV series was still just getting started and there hadn’t been any LEGO Star Wars TV specials yet. The many tie-in sets for those series’ alone are worth updating the book but this also covers the many exclusive minifigures, the “microfighter” line, the popular annual Advent Calendar pieces (introduced in 2011), the massive “Ultimate Collector Sets” and more.

Since 2009 many of the LEGO Star Wars sets have been redone, like Jabba’s Palace, so you get to compare both through information and detailed photos. Then there's full spreads of some of the all-new sets like the Ewok village...


Keeping with the “updating” theme of the book, the exclusive minifigure Luke Skywalker is a brand-new updated take on the first 1999 Luke minifig. Luke’s minifig “skin” has been pink since around 2006 but this one has trademark LEGO yellow hands and head as Luke did in 1999.

Luke hasn't aged a day in 15 years!
In this book you also get behind-the-scenes interviews with LEGO creators and a comprehensive timeline of when each set was released. Simon Beecroft and Jason Fry wrote this with trivia-loving LEGO enthusiasts in mind but works for a casual fan who can just appreciate LEGO’s fun take on Star Wars.

Did you know: Simon Beecroft has written many Star Wars books for DK, particularly in the DK Readers series? Jason Fry has also written many Star Wars books - mainly The Clone Wars titles - including The Clone Wars Episode Guide (DK), Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy (Scholastic) and also the very cool (but not Star Wars) novel The Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra

While we're speaking of LEGO Star Wars the writer of ALL the LEGO Star Wars TV shows, Michael Price, chatted on the Star Wars Kidscast podcast back in Episode 4.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Star Wars Kidscast Episode 10: What About Mom?

Join Star Wars Kidscast for a Mother’s Day Special episode! Four active Star Wars fans (who also happen to be moms) chime in on characters like Shmi Skywalker & Padmé Amidala, what Star Wars means to them as moms, how they share the saga in their family and much more!

Guests contributions from:
Jen from Anomaly podcast
Amanda from MakingStarWars.net
Zannah a big-time Star Wars fan
Becca from CoffeeWithKenobi.com

Also check out this earlier episode with an interview with Star Wars artist (and mom) Katie Cook, along with her youngest youngling!


Download this episode (right click and save)