Friday, March 23, 2018

Read, You Must: Chewie and the Porgs

Viewers of The Last Jedi may be particularly curious of how the relationship between a hungry Chewbacca and the adorable bird-like porgs of Ahch-To translates into a kid-friendly picture book.

That’s certainly understandable because in the movie, Chewbacca takes an interest in the porgs, but it’s not to become friends!

Chewie and the Porgs (Disney-Lucasfilm Press) is the second in a new wave of beautifully illustrated picture books based upon the most recent Star Wars films. Following BB-8 On the Run, Chewie and the Porgs shows how they meet, how they help each other and become friends.

Where BB-8 On The Run offers a between-the-scenes look at what happens offscreen during The Force Awakens, Chewie and the Porgs is an alternate look at the first meeting between the wookiee and the small island creatures. 
It is similar but very different to how they become acquainted in The Last Jedi.

Author Kevin Shinick introduces young readers to the mysterious planet and it’s cute little inhabitants while the familiar wookiee searches for food. Luke Skywalker and Rey are barely seen as this is truly Chewie’s story.

Artist Fiona Hsieh captures the cuteness of it all with a colourful retro style similar to the recent Star Wars Golden Books series.

For those who desperately need to know if this story is officially part of the Star Wars timeline, referred to by fans as the canon, the answer is no. This story specifically states that “fishing season is over and all the fish are gone”, where in The Last Jedi, Luke clearly has caught a big fish while Rey and Chewbacca are on the island. That’s just one example.

If you can forget about the events of the movie for a few minutes, it’s very easy for kids and parents to enjoy this touching story about cooperation and friendship.

And it's SOOO cute!

Highly recommended.

(Publisher’s Recommendation Ages 5 – 8 years)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Read, You Must: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary

Readers who enjoy the DK visual dictionaries that accompany the release of each new Star Wars movie will not be disappointed with Star Wars: The Last Jedi - The Visual Dictionary. Fans of the latest Star Wars adventure will enjoy 80 pages of full-colour photos of new characters, droids, aliens, vehicles and creatures.

Like with 2015's The Force Awakens The Visual Dictionary, DK has enlisted Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo to tell the stories to expand on so many things only seen momentarily on screen.

Readers who want to know all sorts of new Star Wars trivia have plenty to dive into here. What's that character's name? What alien species is this? What kind of starship is that? It's (almost) all in there.

"Almost", because there are a few moments of The Last Jedi that were not included in this book on purpose. Since the book was published almost the same time as the movie's release, a few key details were left out to keep a few surprises secret. Certain Jedi Masters appearing or disappearing are not mentioned here.

Previously with The Force Awakens The Visual Dictionary, there were no pictures of Supreme Leader Snoke or Luke Skywalker's whereabouts. Thankfully that's all in The Last Jedi The Visual Dictionary.

Also included are some glimpses of moments cut from the film, including more of the Caretakers from Luke's island hideaway and more aliens from the Canto Bight casinos.

Since it's a visual dictionary, these books can also be enjoyed purely for their many detailed photos from the movie. There's plenty to pour over here!

Either way, these books are must-haves to accompany the Star Wars movies! Recommended for Star Wars fans of any age.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Read, You Must: BB-8 On The Run

BB's Big Adventure!

What happened to BB-8 in The Force Awakens between fleeing from the First Order and meeting Rey?

Apparently quite a lot!

BB-8 On the Run is an exciting new picture book from Disney/Lucasfilm Press that reveals the droid’s mini-adventure on Jakku, the scenes that happen between-the-scenes from the movie.

Drew Daywalt, author of the very popular The Day the Crayons Quit, tells the tale of BB-8 facing danger, making friends, being a hero and much more. It is a very busy day for the rolling droid!

With vibrant, beautifully colourful paintings by illustrator Matt Myers on every page, the story feels as warm as the Jakku sunlight.

BB-8 starts his first day alone on Jakku by trying to be helpful but unfortunately rolls himself into a scavenger’s trap! The Teedo character who has BB-8 caught in a net in the film is the main villain here, and it turns out the alien and the droid have plenty of conflict in the day prior to meeting Rey.

Teedo rides a Luggabeast!
Teaming up with another trapped droid, the hulky but cartoonish F3-ZK (aka. “Fez”), BB-8 escapes and proceeds to flee further across the Jakku desert. New dilemmas seem to be over each sandy hill, and BB-8 never shies from the challenges. Never discouraged either, he spends his day doing random acts of kindness.

BB-8 On the Run is really a story about making choices, that every situation presents the choice to be selfless and help others. BB-8 knows his own mission is very important, but so is doing the right thing for those who need help. His owner Poe would be very proud of his decisions even when they seem dangerous!

After being “on the run” all day, BB-8 eventually encounters Teedo one more time, which leads to meeting Rey as seen in The Force Awakens. This leads to a satisfying conclusion for those who have seen the film and know how it all plays out. 

Young readers may not know what happens next, though, who the woman is or why Teedo is suddenly gone. Children unfamiliar with the movie (which was rated PG-13 for USA) will probably need the abrupt ending explained.

More important though, the story is an entertaining adventure, beautifully illustrated and full of kindness and humanity – not an easy thing to do for a story about a robot!

The tone here might be a little too cute for some adult tastes but BB-8 On the Run cleverly walks that line. For or those who remember the 1980's Droids cartoons and comics fondly you will likely really enjoy this as well!

Highly recommended!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Read, You Must: Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia

DK Publishing has created many terrific visual guides to the Star Wars universe and have just added another “must-have” book to that list.

Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia is a pictorial catalogue of the people, places and things of the Star Wars universe.  Where Ultimate Star Wars goes into much more descriptive detail of the galactic events and character stories of the Star Wars saga, The Visual Encyclopedia gives a wide-ranging overview of what a visitor to that universe might discover.

Across 200 pages, the book contains spread after spread on a wide variety of topics, each full of visual examples. Everything from weapons and armor to creatures and droids are all broken down into categories (and sub-categories) then represented with multiple example images.

The writing team behind this book have all worked some of our favourite Star Wars guide books from the past few years. Tricia Barr (co-author on Ultimate Star Wars), Adam Bray and Cole Horton (both co-authors of Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Chronicles of the Force and more) tie together the wildly varied items on display with their descriptions and notes.

The uniforms of the Empire are contrasted with the casual dress of smugglers and pirates. Royal dresses from Naboo to Alderaan are also compared. Interested in the foods, toys and musical instruments of Star Wars? They’re all here. How about helmets? LOADS of those! And so many droids!

The Visual Encyclopedia finds its examples (for just about everything) from throughout the Star Wars saga, from the movies, including Rogue One, to The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Instead of dividing things based on when or where they appeared onscreen, here everything is presented as equally important. It’s all Star Wars!

Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia really feels like an extensive souvenir book from the coolest museum exhibit ever. It can be read from start to finish, or you can open it up just about anywhere to have a closer look at nearly anything from the Star Wars universe.

Highly recommended!

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