By: Dominic Jones
Lucasfilm/Disney and Workman publishing recently teamed up to produce a series of Star Wars Workbooks which teaching children valuable skills, such as reading and writing, using the Star Wars saga as a base. The good folks at Workman publishing were kind enough to provide us with some samples of the workbooks, and I must say I was quite impressed.
After looking through the Preschool ABC Fun, Kindergarten Writing and ABCs, 1st Grade Writing, and Second Grade Reading books, it's clear that these books were not only designed to teach the younglings to read and write, but also to help them become fans for life. The exercises feature the usual characters and locations you would expect, like Wookiees, Endor, and Darth Vader, alongside some more "hard core" references like Banthas, Ithorians, and Plo Koon.
The learning exercises are largely what you'd expect from these types of books, with traceable letters and a Star Wars alphabet (i.e, W is for Wookiee) for the younger children, and Fill-in-the-blanks and reading comprehension questions for the older ones. The exercises also feature lots of illustrations to keep kids engaged, some straight from the films, others more humorous in nature.
The books also feature a nice mix of Original Trilogy and Prequel trilogy references. I always love to see elements from all six films next to each other on even footing, and I'm glad to see that Workman and Disney are interested in introducing kids to the entire saga (not just the OT). I was also excited to see some references to the Emmy Award winning animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars scattered throughout the book, a highlight for me was seeing the five younglings from the younglings arc of season five featured in the Second Grade Reading book.
Another thing I was very pleased to see in the Second Grade Reading book was a brief biography of George Lucas! I was impressed to see that the books were not only focused on the in-universe elements of the saga, but on Star Wars history as well. Another nice touch of Star Wars history included in that book is a review of A New Hope from May 1977.
Overall the Workman Star Wars Waorkbooks are an excellent introduction to learning, the saga, and Star Wars history and are a must have for anyone with younglings. They work great for kids who already love Star Wars, and could serve as an excellent introductions for those who have yet to be introduced to the galaxy far, far away.....
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