I’m not gonna lie – there are a lot of Star Wars books out there. Like…a lot. You’ve got your novels, your young adult novels, your kids storybooks, your Little Golden Books, your academic workbooks, your collectible books about collectibles, your gorgeous coffee table art books. It can all be a bit much.
Even when you narrow it down a bit, it still has the potential to be a bit overwhelming. Like Star Wars? Well, yeah, sure. Like LEGO? I mean, who doesn’t? So the marriage of the two should be a match made in heaven, right? It absolutely is, and LEGO Star Wars books are among the best all-ages books on the shelf.
But where to begin? Because if you haven’t noticed – there’s a lot of book just in that one niche.
With that in mind, this week’s Stack Overflow will focus a bit on some of the more recent books to highlight the LEGO Star Wars universe.
The Force Awakens (published by Scholastic) is geared toward the youngest audience and beginning readers. The book is told in a graphic novel format and follows the main story beats of the movie…but with the humor you’ve come to expect from LEGO adaptations. The narration over each panel relates the story in a straightforward, simple manner and reveals the young audience for whom the book is intended, but the dialogue given to the characters is where the humor is allowed to shine. And frankly, it’s where the book excels.
There are also fantastic little nuggets and “Easter eggs” hidden in the art that make reading the book with kids an absolute joy. For example? When Maz pulls the lightsaber out of its hiding place, we see lots of other treasures around, including vintage mint-in-box Kenner toys and a Yoda figure still on the card! Priceless.
R2-D2 to the Rescue (published by Scholastic) is definitely a step up in that it’s a chapter book, but it’s a slim book and still great for beginning readers who can’t get enough Star Wars. The story relates some of R2’s lesser-known adventures during A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. They’re lesser known because the book plays fast and loose with the events from the films.
Ever wonder why the cantina owner in Mos Eisley didn’t allow droids? Well, it might have something to do with C-3PO waiting tables and R2 “dropping a funky beat.” Remember the first time Luke, Han, and the droids ran into a group of wampas on Hoth? No? Then I guess you don’t remember Luke making snow angels or the wampas making a vegetable stew. What about the time Boba Fett used a Rebel Visitor Pass card to sneak aboard a rebel ship? Really? You forgot that one, too?
The book is incredibly cute, very funny, and – of course – R2 saves the day in each chapter. Doesn’t he always?
R2-D2 and C-3PO’s Guide to the Galaxy (published by Scholastic) is basically a slimmed-down, highlights-only, non-photographic version of the character encyclopedia. The book makes an attempt to set up the narrative that the droids are telling a story, but there’s really not much of a “story” here. Each spread is dedicated to a different character, with an image (most look to be taken from the various LEGO Star Wars shows and movies) and a brief bio. C-3PO will pop up from time to time to make a wisecrack, but there’s not much LEGO humor here.
The book is organized into different sections, featuring characters, spaceships and vehicles, and planets. It also includes a little bit of everything; the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and Star Wars Rebels are all represented. If you’ve got a little one who’s obsessed with all things LEGO or Star Wars, then you can’t go wrong with this one, but I found it to be lacking a certain…something. It’s a bit too much like a basic reference guide for my tastes.
But it comes with C-3PO minifigure, so that’s a win.
We’re big fans of activity books, and Use the Force! (published by Scholastic) certainly delivers the goods. First off, it comes with a rebel snowtrooper minifigure. Which, awesome. I mean, with Rey being so prominent on the cover, it would’ve been even more awesome if she had been the minifig, but I’m not going to complain.
This slim book alternates between comics and single-page activities, including mazes, pattern recognition, code breaking, and quizzes. The book itself says 7+, but I think that’s because it includes the minifigure (i.e., small parts). The activities and comics on these pages are appropriate for kids about 5+…even younger if you’re reading aloud.
If you have older kids or are looking for a more challenging activity book, I submit Galactic Freedom Fighters Comics & Activities (published by Scholastic). The great thing about LEGO activity books is that they’re a bit of a gumbo. You get some comics, you get some longer stories, you get some brainteasers, and then you get a healthy mix of quizzes, mazes, word scrambles, codes, and puzzles.
At almost 100 pages, this is one of the longer activity books, and I’d say it’s appropriate for about the 7+ crowd. Some of the activities are on the challenging side, and it’s a text-heavy book. If you’re looking for a book full of one-page activities, this might not be your book. But if you’re looking for a book that requires a lot of reading and has some brainburner activities to support that text, then add this one to your wish list.
It’s a great book for long car rides, plane trips, or lazy afternoons. It’ll keep the kids busy for a long time, and that’s definitely worth 9 bucks.
This one is pretty interesting. Face Off: 29 Wild and Wacky Matchups! (published by Scholastic) basically takes the whole “who would win in a fight?” premise and matches up various characters from the Star Wars universe. Characters are presented on opposing pages, and each includes a series of stats so you can decide for yourself who would win. Compare the characters according to intelligence, strength, agility, damage, control, courage, and a unique “wild card” characteristic (e.g., dramatic speeches, beard maintenance, smooth talking).
Who would win? Wicket or Max Rebo? BB-8 or a Tusken Raider? Admiral Ackbar or Bib Fortuna? Finn or Darth Malgus? What if Rey’s Speeder went up against an AT-AT? There are a few vehicle showdowns as well. Use the stats (or don’t, it’s up to you) and decide who would win. Then go to the end of the book and see who the “LEGO experts” think would be victorious.
This is a fun, unique book that should appear to the young data nerds in all of us.
We may have saved the best for last with Build Your Own Adventure (published by DK). Any book that comes with both a minifigure and a vehicle is A-OK by me. The book, which is packaged together with the (much larger) vehicle kit come together in a slipcase, so the actual size of the book is much smaller than it would initially seem. Clocking in at a mere 79 pages, the book still manages to squeeze in some real eye candy.
This isn’t just any adventure. This is Zin Evalon’s adventure! Who’s he? He’s one of the Rebel Alliance’s new recruits, and that’s his Y-Wing you’re going to build. If you’ve seen any of DK’s LEGO ideas books, you have a good sense for what’s in store here. This is essentially an ideas book with a Star Wars angle. And because it’s published by DK, each page is heavily designed and includes loads of detailed photos of actual LEGO builds.
Even if you don’t have a surplus of extra LEGO bricks lying around to make the models detailed in the book, each page is still total eye candy and overflowing with inspiration. I could easily spend hours looking at books like these, and so can my kids. Even if you never build that hover transport or snow speeder bike, you’re still guaranteed to spend some quality time with Zin Evalon and his adventure.
Because Zin’s adventure is really your adventure.
(Disclosure: GeekDad received review copies of these books. All opinions remain our own…because LEGO and Star Wars are awesome.)