With Star Wars Day just around the corner (May the Fourth be with you!), it’s time to make sure you have an appropriately themed gift for your loved ones. What? You don’t buy presents for each other on Star Wars Day? Well, maybe you’ll change your mind after you see this list we compiled.
1. Darth Vader & Son and Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
At the top of the list is Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown. I’d been told it would be released on Star Wars Day, but it’s gone from “preorder” to “order” on Amazon, so now you can get a copy in time.
Following up on his best-selling Darth Vader and Son, Brown now takes a look at what Vader’s relationship with Leia might have been like, in a parallel universe where he was responsible for her upbringing. Unlike the first book, in which Luke was portrayed as a perpetual four-year-old, in this one Leia starts off young and then turns into a rebellious teenager. She gets embarrassed about her dad; he’s suspicious of this Han Solo guy she’s dating.
I got a sneak peek at it and it’s delightful. As the father of two girls, I can relate to Vader’s frustrations and sometimes helplessness in the face of a strong-willed daughter. Sometimes, the Force just isn’t enough. There’s a fun look into the design of the book’s cover on the Chronicle Books website.
If you don’t have the first book, get it too! (And there’s even a Darth Vader and Son Postcard Book so you can send your Star Wars Day wishes through this newfangled technology called the postal service.)
2. Star Wars: Mega Models from DK Publishing
As Dave Banks explained last week, Star Wars: Mega Models from DK Publishing delivers Star Wars themed paper models in a way that practically anyone can look like a pro. There are four models in the book: a TIE fighter, Boba Fett’s helmet, a full model of Yoda, and Anakin’s lightsaber. Each comes with easy-to-understand instructions and each can be completed well within an hour. You might want to get two copies: one for yourself, and one for your kids.
3. Star Wars Folded Flyers from Klutz
Speaking of folding, this is another great book from Klutz: Star Wars Folded Flyers. It features six spaceships from the Star Wars universe, including an X-wing and the Millennium Falcon, which you fold together from the pages of the book itself. The instructions are pretty easy to follow and the models you end up with look pretty good given the constraints of the medium. Some of them look nothing like a traditional paper plane though, but I was surprised to find out that they do actually fly really well. (NB)
4. The Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger
I’ve praised Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series before, and I’ll do it again. It’s aimed at middle-grade readers, but I really enjoyed the books, too. The first three books are stories of middle school and a strange kid with an origami puppet who dispenses unexpectedly sage advice. Each book also includes goofy doodles and instructions on folding various simple Star Wars characters.
The latest, Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, was just released in March, and is more of an activity book. One-line drawings, 3D block letters (which my kids love), speed doodles, simple origami puppets, and more. The projects and activities here are all pretty easy (and explained by the kid characters from his books) so they’re kid-friendly—great for your budding Star Wars artists.
5. The Star Wars Craft Book and You Can Draw Star Wars by Bonnie Burton
While we’re talking about making stuff, it’s hard to beat the queen of Star Wars crafts, Bonnie Burton. The Star Wars Craft Book is a couple years old but it has some great projects in there for various skill levels, like the Chewbacca tissue box cover or Jabba the Hutt body pillow. Meanwhile, for your budding artist, You Can Draw Star Wars gives you tips (and stencils!) for creating your favorite Star Wars characters on paper. Or maybe you could draw the spider-Chewbacca that Patton Oswalt described.
6. The Star Wars Cookbook: Ice Sabers by Lara Starr
There have been a couple versions of Star Wars–themed cookbooks over the years. (Boba Fett-ucine, from the classic Wookiee Cookies cookbook, is probably still my favorite recipe name.) The latest incarnation, released at the beginning of this month, is Ice Sabers: 30 Chilled Treats Using the Force of Your Freezer. With treats like Bananakin Splits, Qui-Gon Gingerbread Sandwiches, and Frozen Hoth Chocolate, the book is full of puntastic recipes that all involve your freezer: popsicles, cakes and pies, ice cream, and beverages. The photography in the book is wonderful, too, usually involving action figures.
And, of course, the titular Ice Sabers. The book comes with a four-saber mold and recipes for making Sith (red), Obi Wan’s (blue) or Luke’s (green) sabers. I don’t recommend actually fighting with the ice sabers. As my six-year-old pointed out when she saw the cover: “then they will break and you won’t be able to eat them.”
7. Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga toys
Ok, so maybe this whole Angry Birds thing has gone a little too far, but there’s no denying that flinging things around and knocking things down is a lot of fun. And so what if Darth Vader is a pig and Luke and Leia are birds? When we were kids Kermit and Miss Piggy had some pretty strange offspring, too.
The various Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga sets let you destroy the Death Star, attack an AT-AT, tackle Tatooine, and more. (My advice: set a rule early on that your kids have to set ‘em up themselves if they want to knock them down.)
8. X-Wings Miniatures Game
For the slightly older crowd, the X-Wing Miniatures Game is, as Dave Banks says, serious fun. The gameplay is similar to Wings of War: pick your moves simultaneously as you try to maneuver your ships into position to fire without being fired upon. The Core Set has an X-Wing and two TIE Fighters, but you can also get lots of others, including the massive Millennium Falcon or Boba Fett’s Slave I.
9. Stormtrooper Basketball Jersey
I am neither the biggest Star Wars fan around nor what you might call a world-class athlete, and yet every year as the weather gets warmer I bust out my Stormtrooper basketball jersey. Why? Because it’s how I like to imagine the cannon fodder of the Galactic Empire dressed out for gym class. Also it is mad comfortable. (Z.)
10. Severed Wampa Arm Ice Scraper
Is it still cold where you live? I’m asking this question seriously, folks, as individual seasons have now ceased to have definite start- and endpoints. If you too are in the grips of interminable winter, I humbly suggest investing in ThinkGeek’s Severed Wampa Arm Ice Scraper. It’s the perfect marriage of form, function and sci-fi gore.
If you were a late adopter of Nintendo’s 3DS handheld—and, let’s face it, most of you likely were—then it’s quite possible you missed out on this exemplary launch title. Blending accessible portable playability with the strength of the LEGO Star Wars license and just the right amount of three-dimensional depth, it kept many of us occupied through the lean months that defined the early days of the 3DS. Two years later it’s still just as fun, but twice as cheap! (Z.)
Plan ahead for next year:
Jeffrey Brown also has another book coming out later this year: Jedi Academy. It’s like Star Wars middle school: Roan wants to be a pilot like his brother and dad, but he gets rejected from Pilot Academy and instead gains entrance to Jedi Academy. I’ll be interested to see how Brown handles the subject matter, because this one is targeted at younger readers.
Tom Angleberger’s next book is also due out later: The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. The principal has canceled art classes in favor of FunTime, a program designed to improve standardized test scores. Will Origami Yoda be able to defeat the FunTime Menace?
Of course, these one won’t be here in time for Star Wars Day, but there’s always next year…