Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Luke Skywalker Launches New Picture Book Series!

A new series of picture books from Disney-Lucasfilm Press begins this month with the release of Luke and the Lost Jedi Temple by Jason Fry, author of many Star Wars books (Aliens of the Galaxy, Star Wars in 100 Scenes, Rey's Survival Guide).
What makes this series unique is that these picture books are all fully-illustrated adaptations of middle-grade Star Wars novels from 2015.

Luke and the Lost Jedi Temple is a very abridged version of Fry’s own The Weapon of a Jedi, published as part of the “Journey to The Force Awakens” titles. The black, white and occasional red illustrations from Weapon are replaced here with full-colour digital paintings from Pilot Studio.

If you look carefully Sarco Plank is in The Force Awakens!
The story is the same though as Luke Skywalker, not long after the destruction of the first Death Star, makes an emergency landing on a strange planet. Luke finds himself being drawn by the Force to a long-abandoned Jedi temple. Along the way he makes a new friend Farnay and a mysterious – possibly dangerous - guide named Sarco Plank.

Fry turns his original novel into a quick adventure for younger readers to enjoy while the full colour illustrations capture the action.

The book also comes with two pages of stickers based on characters and scenes in the story.

As mentioned above, this book begins a new series as other middle-grade novels will be soon adapted into this format. Other titles to look forward to:

Leia and the Great Island Escape (Adapted from Moving Target) (Dec 2016)

Poe and the Missing Ship (Adapted from Poe’s story in Before the Awakening) (Jan 2017)

Han and the Rebel Rescue (Adapted from Smuggler’s Run) (May 2017)

No word yet if the Rey or Finn stories within Before the Awakening will also be adapted. Stay tuned for more details.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Watch, You Must: Jedi Junior High

Now available on Netflix* (and many other streaming services) is a documentary that many Star Wars fans will enjoy. 

Jedi Junior High is the behind-the-scenes story of the making of a Star Wars live musical production! Specifically it is an adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, staged in 2009.

For any seasoned theatre company this would be a huge undertaking, but this show has a cast of performers all ranging from about 8 to 13 years old! On top of that, there is a wide range of experience and skill among the cast.

Over the course of the film you get to know the cast, their families, the crew and the creators who put the whole thing together. The young cast range from kids vaguely aware of the story to kids who (like most people reading this right now) live and breathe Star Wars saga! 

Here's the trailer:

Jedi Junior High goes through the audition process, the rehearsals, the backstage drama and the exciting opening night.
"Chewbacca" learns that being a wookiee is a very sweaty life
So how could they do a live musical that includes the battle of Hoth? Carbon freezing? Yoda??

The clever ways the producers of the show have come up with to include all these and more are just one of the reasons to enjoy this movie.

Be prepared to laugh, to be moved, to see the cutest Yoda you’ve ever seen and to cheer on a whole crew of young rebels!

For more details visit jedijuniorhigh.com

*Available on Netflix USA and Canada. Check other areas.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Star Wars Cookie Decoration Kit

This Halloween I spotted a Star Wars cookie decorating kit from Leese Enterprises for sale among the treats available. It has nothing to do with Halloween but with only black, orange and white colored icing inside (the character cookies are a First Order Stormtrooper helmet and BB-8) presumably it seemed to be just Halloween-y enough to be a part of that display. 

That part didn’t matter to us, but the fact that it was 75% off the day AFTER Halloween was pretty awesome though!

With our very cheap, not-particularly-Halloweeny, cookie decoration kit we were ready to have some Star Warsy fun and enjoy some cookies. Here’s how it went…

There were eight shaped sugar cookies inside the box, a white icing pack, two icing tubes for details (black and orange), and for some reason a bag of rainbow candy balls.

Anyway, I haven’t decorated cookies in a long time but I make much of my living as an illustrator. I pride myself and depend on my artistic abilities. How hard could it be to work with icing? I was so na├»ve…

Another step or two would've been VERY helpful!
The first thing you notice in the box is the cookies have the character details etched right in so you can easily follow the pattern. That’s a really nice touch because without that all hope may be lost.

Next you realize laughably tiny amount of supplied white icing for eight cookies that – to match the box – each take up a lot of white icing. 

Not much left after just 2 cookies!
This kit is marked ages 3+ and even I was having a hard time squeezing the black and orange icing out of the “Icing Writer” in any kind of controlled way. There’s no way my 4 ½ year-old daughter would have the hand strength to make a design, let alone a continuous line. How you’re supposed to fill in the gaps I don’t know.

The white icing is too thick to come out in any fluid way either so making a slick looking BB-8 was not easy. Seriously, toothpaste would be easier to work with!

I think they turned out looking reasonably good. Due to the difficulty of squeezing the icing I did do most of - almost all - the work myself so as far as a “together” activity, this was pretty weak. 

Leese Enterprises made a Millennium Falcon kit at Christmas (akin to a gingerbread house) and that was much easier for us to do together AND it came with more than enough icing to make it look like the box photos.
We skipped the white icing for these ones.
But with any cookie, it really comes down to enjoying eating them. I must admit these cookies were really tasty! My daughter licked her BB-8 almost entirely clean before eating the cookie. When it came to the Stormtrooper she had black icing all over her face and hands. Her hands looked as blackened as a mechanic’s by the time her cookie was gone!
This used to be BB-8

I’m glad we didn’t pay full price for this kit because the frustrations were much more entertaining with only a few dollars spent. She got to enjoy watching me do all the work but we both enjoyed recreating AND eating these characters in cookie form.  

More importantly we found another way to enjoy Star Wars together! 

Troopers can take a few licks too!

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