Friday, June 24, 2016

New Look and Feel for Star Wars DK Readers

After creating dozens of Star Wars–themed “readers” (short books geared to a specific reading level), DK Publishing has updated the look and feel of the series with three new releases. 

Each title is still given a particular theme and intended reading level. Each book is full of full-colour images from the Star Wars films and TV shows.

For this batch the focus is on The Force Awakens and Star Wars Rebels. The three newest Star Wars readers are: Star Wars Rebels: Darth Vader, Rebel Hunter (Level 2), The Adventures of BB-8 (Level 2) and Finn’s Mission (Level 3).

As with earlier titles in the series each book comes with a glossary for trickier words and a guide for parents to help use the books to coach their young readers. There are also quizzes in the back to check for comprehension.

What’s new is each title looks a little more fun and exciting. The cover and inside page layouts are much closer to the magazine-style look seen in DK's recent (and fantastic) Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know. There is also a lot more variety from page to page than earlier editions. 

For younglings learning to read and curious about the ins and outs of Star Wars there are many DK Readers still in print at every level. These three new titles make a great new addition to the collection!

Publisher’s Descriptions:

Darth Vader, Rebel Hunter: Learn all about one of the most terrifying figures in the Empire, Darth Vader. Discover how the evil Sith Lord plans to defeat the rebels once and for all. (Level 2)

The Adventures of BB-8:  Follow brave BB-8 as he gets caught up in the battle to save the galaxy. Learn about the heroic Resistance and the sinister First Order. Meet BB-8's new friends, and see them join together to defeat evil! (Level 2)

Finn’s Mission: From the desert wastelands of Jakku to the frozen mountains of the Starkiller, follow Finn as he bravely battles the First Order. Meet the heroes who will help him in his mission, and face the terrifying enemies who will stand in his way. (Level 3)

Also Available

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force

For LEGO-loving Star Wars fans, LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force offers a photo-filled, lighthearted look of all things Star Wars. Everything from major character groups (Empire, Rebellion, First Order, bounty hunters, etc.) to vehicles, planets and starships are here.
Chronicles of the Force gives an overview of how and where things fit together in the Star Wars galaxy across 96 pages of full-colour, up-close photos. For collector/builders there's also info about the various sets available.

Written by Star Wars experts Adam Bray and Cole Horton (co-authors of Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know), characters from all SEVEN Star Wars feature films (I love saying that!) plus The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels and more all appear.

The past few years have brought plenty of hilarious LEGO Star Wars on TV (The Yoda Chronicles, Droid Tales, etc.) and in books like LEGO Star Wars In 100 Scenes. This book, while fun and entertaining, is a little closer in tone to the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary with a bit of the humour and look from Absolutely Everything You Need to Know.  

Like many LEGO Star Wars titles, this one also includes an exclusive minifig: “Unkar’s Brute”. 

Unkar's Brute: Not that one...THAT one!
Exclusive Minifig!
To be honest, when I saw this minifig I really wasn’t sure who this was supposed to be despite having seen The Force Awakens, well, a LOT of times. Turns out he represents one of the two thugs that was trying to steal BB-8 from Rey after she refused Unkar’s offer of “60 portions”.

For LEGO fanatics and casual fans alike Chronicles of the Force is a fun way to explore the whole Star Wars saga!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Force Awakens Retold Many Ways

With young readers in mind, several recent books have retold the entire story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Tailored to various ages and reading levels, each has a slightly different perspective on events seen in the film. Many fans will want to read them all!

For the youngest readers, Little Golden Books has just released its The Force Awakens book to go along with the many other recent Little Golden Books Star Wars titles (Reviews here and here). The story is brisk and the art is kid-friendly, cartoony and very retro-cool! This is a fun addition to any collection. It is adapted by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Caleb Meurer and Micky Rose.

Speaking of retro-cool, read-along books have been around since they came with little vinyl records, then cassettes and eventually CDs. You can enjoy The Force Awakens Read-Along Storybook and CD just fine without the CD: Elizabeth Schaefer condenses the events into a quick read and Brian Rood's illustrations capture the key scenes of the story. However, the CD really expands the experience with music, sound effects, and dialogue right from the movie.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens storybook - also written by Elizabeth Schaefer - really lets the artwork shine as it's almost a coffee-table book of Brian Rood's amazing art. Some same images from the Read-Along book and several other Early Readers appear here along with many, many more pictures - some not seen elsewhere. Schaefer has more room to tell the story in detail here too. Together they make this book a real treasure!

The most in-depth version for young readers is the middle-grade chapter book Star Wars: The Force Awakens A Junior Novel. Author Michael Kogge retells the movie and even adds a few new moments and scenes that help connect the tale with the book Before the Awakening. It is a very entertaining and enjoyable version of the story. The drama, excitement and humour are all here!

However or wherever you are - May the Force Awakens Be With You!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rey: Putting the Puzzle Together

The Force Awakens gave Star Wars fans PLENTY to enjoy but also left a lot of questions unanswered. The mystery of Rey especially has captivated fans and been the subject of much debate. We know she says she's waiting for her family, but who exactly? And why is she there without them?

While we await answers to come in Episode 8 (let's hope!) here’s a look what books to read to piece together what is available to know about Rey so far. (All of these titles are suitable for middle-grade readers.)

In Before the Awakening, nearly a third of the book is a story starring Rey shortly before The Force Awakens. Readers will get a good feel of how difficult day-to-day life is for a young scavenger on Jakku. This story emphasizes the challenges of Rey having no friends to trust and no one to turn to. She truly is on her own.  The story also details how it is that Rey knows so much about flying starships even though she’s never left the planet. 

In a different way Rey’s Survival Guide covers a lot of the same information found in Before the Awakening – with a lot more little nuggets and facts to discover. Instead of a story in chapters, here the details are written as notes and comments like a scrapbook or journal. This one has plenty of illustrations too. It also leads directly into the events of The Force Awakens.

Every young Star Wars fan should read The Force Awakens Junior Novelization too. If you’ve seen the movie there’s no big surprises here, but it's a very entertaining way to re-experience the story. Above that, there is an extra scene of Rey! In the movie as Rey meets BB-8 she tells the droid “in the morning, you go”. The next time they’re on screen it’s already morning. In this book readers get a short scene of Rey and BB-8’s one night together before meeting Finn.

For some reason this little scene is not in Rey’s Story, a complete re-telling of The Force Awakens entirely focused on Rey. Readers don’t really get into Rey’s thoughts but are alongside her for the adventure. If you want to focus on Rey's story, well, Rey's Story is the best place to turn to!

If you prefer your information in a more get-to-the-point way, check out The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary and the newly updated Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. Both terrific books contain details about Rey and life on Jakku.

Yes that’s a lot of reading, but it’s certainly entertaining reading! Enjoy all these titles and hopefully more to come as the mystery of Rey becomes revealed!

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