If Kids Haven’t Felt the Force, Now is the Time!
Star Wars Epic Yarns Trilogy:
A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; & Return of the Jedi
by Jack and Holman Wang
(Chronicle Books; $9.99 each, ages 0-2)
As fans know, today, May 4th, is Star Wars Day so what better way to celebrate than by sharing a new trilogy of board books from the creative team of Jack and Holman Wang? These 24 paged, sturdy books are ideal for introducing a new generation to an American film icon. The three books, Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope, Star Wars Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi do not disappoint, in fact they are quite amazing when you consider how they were made.
Über inventive twin brothers, Jack and Holman, have painstakingly recreated classic scenes (12 in fact) using felt as their medium! The 12 scenes in each book were designed using 7:1 scale. The characters and settings, including the desert, swamp, forest and snow, all have been recreated to resemble the original locales. And if that’s not mind-blowing enough, the Wangs have been able to reduce the gist of each plot line down to 12 individual words for little ones to see, hear and learn.
I can picture grandparents, parents and caregivers reading the board books with a huge smile on their faces as they recall major scenes from the Star Wars films that have stayed with them for years, maybe decades. In the first book, youngsters see the captured Princess Leia conversing with R2-D2 and so the word, princess, is introduced. Luke Skywalker discovers the hidden Death Star plans in the droid, boy, learns to use a lightsaber, meets captain Hans Solo, travels through space, and the colorful cast of characters become heroes in the end.
The story breakdown in the other two board books is similar in that the Wang brothers have perfectly paired words with characters and selected the best scenes to reproduce. Little ones are going to LOVE the Wang’s little green Jedi Master Yoda and be impressed by the commanding stature of Darth Vader, father and laugh at the marvelous monster depiction in felt of Jabba the Hutt.
I sure wish these clever books had been around when my kids were little, but now I can at least look forward to sharing them one day with my grandchildren before they, like millions of others, get hooked on the films!
– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel