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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jeffrey Brown is Back with Friends: Darth Vader and Friends

Artist and author Jeffrey Brown is back again this month with another entertaining book for Star Wars fans. Like its predecessors, Darth Vader and Friends (Chronicle Books) is 64 pages of gag cartoons set in Brown’s unique alternate version of the galaxy.

Teachable moments and physics
Continuing along the lines of bestsellers Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess, and Good Night, Darth Vader, Luke and Leia are small children and Darth Vader is a single Dad bumbling his way through parenting and work. Familiar Star Wars characters show up as children throughout. Forget everything you know about Star Wars continuity - the rules go out the window here to make room for lighthearted fun.

This series has the look and feel of children's books but based on the vocabulary these books are more “gift books” than children’s books. Adults can enjoy them with or without their children and often it seems the jokes are more for the grown-ups.

Star Wars has been parodied many, many times since 1977 so finding fresh material for humour is no small challenge. Brown manages to find a few new ways to look at the galaxy but often his focus is more on being sweet than being funny, like when Chewbacca ate all the pizza or Leia ate the candy bar. There’s no joke; it's just a cute childhood moment.

Luke playing in sand? Looks familiar somehow...
Compared to the witty humour in the recent LEGO Star Wars and Phineas and Ferb TV specials Brown’s books often feel like a corny Family Circus take on Star Wars. However the next page can reveal a clever new surprise like clone troopers confusing each other’s names, Luke’s terrifying lightsaber practice or a bizarrely self-aware Jabba. Alternating between two distinct tones must be a difficult balance.

Fans of Brown’s previous Star Wars books will enjoy Darth Vader and Friends though newcomers to the series may want to start at the beginning with the mega-hit Darth Vader and Son

Also available:


Monday, April 20, 2015

Ultimate Rebels Fun with Ultimate Factivity Collection

What is a “factivity collection”? Imagine a big portion of the Star Wars Rebels Visual Guide mixed with an activity book, then add an entire sticker book. That’s what’s inside this fun new title from DK. 

Following last year’s Star Wars Ultimate Factivity Collection, this fun book focuses on the characters, locations, spaceships and events from Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels TV show. 

Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars Rebels is 96 pages of 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. 
Also Available!

Like most DK books this one is filled with pictures of characters, ships and locations. There’s also plenty to read and do here thanks to authors David Fentiman, Ruth Amos and Lisa Stock.

There are many pages for drawing: you can design your own droid, a speeder bike, the view from inside the cockpit of the Ghost and even create your own graffiti tags like Sabine (ideally to do only inside the book, unless you see Imperial posters around).

Like a lot of Star Wars Rebels books, this one is only based on the events of the first few episodes of season one and the Spark of Rebellion movie debut. Since it came out after the season finale, it would’ve been nice if it included characters and scenes that appeared later on.

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

Further reading: for more Star Wars drawing fun check out Draw Star Wars Rebels!

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