Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood

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Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood

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Buy Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Just what the young fan of The Force Awakens would want, a superbly put-together pictorial memento of all the action she or he would wish for.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: April 2016
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 9781405284028

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Well, ours, last year, really… A film came along that seriously impressed lots of mature audience members who had very valid reasons to doubt it, and that made goggle-eyed popcorn munchers of a lot of youngsters. It had rollicking spacecraft dog-fights, it had emotional revisits for well-loved characters, and had a sting in its tail that lasted at least a couple of days before being leaked to the wider world. I know there is a DVD and Blu-Ray of it coming within days of me writing this, but I can only assume the reason the junior books about the film are being released now and not in time with its cinematic release is down to the chatter of the young and their rampant ability to say what they shouldn't – which includes what happens about eighteen pages before the end of the story here.

I am, of course, talking about The Force Awakens – film seven in the endless cycle of Star Wars movies. There is a 'proper' novel to be had for the young reader, and there is this option, a full-on picture book, where the pages are much more geared to the visual than the text. At most it's about 40% script, 60% art, and it's large print writing at that. And what art – you really do have to check at times to see that it's not a still from the movie but an illustration. It looks more photoreal than anything in Phantom Menace. So with that as another excuse for the book being at a remove from the cinema release of the story, has it been worth the wait?

Very, very much so. You might take this for a pusillanimous variant of the story, but it's not. Yes, it is short on detail – one of the characters saves another by smashing a blast door onto the monster holding the rescuee, which of course kills the beast in the film, but that fact is left out here. Two people hide and in the imagery here seem to grow a pair of gas masks, but you can’t have all the elements that a fast-moving two hour film can provide in a read that takes less than half that.

But you do get the energy of the original, and more importantly the character of it. As blunt and formulaic as the words in isolation would appear to be, I really caught the voice of Hal Solo, and couldn't help but inflect Kylo Ren's lines with the effect his mask puts on his speech. The very way that such a short quick read embodied the source means I cannot complain about this book – yes, I would have changed some things (more emphasis on one certain relationship, perhaps, and poor Leia looks like she hardly says anything in this version), but this is so much better than the average book of its kind. Whether it's just a substitute for the drama of the movie or an added memento for the fan, slipped into their gift pack for whatever reason, this will be a much-loved book.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger is part of a fun unofficial series with well-known characters.

Buy Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Star Wars The Force Awakens Illustrated Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer and Brian Rood at Amazon.com.

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