By Michael Kogge
Age Range: 8 to 12 years
Grade Level: 3 to 7
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (August 5, 2014)
Book Description: Meet Ezra and the Rebels crew! Your favorite Star Wars Rebels heroes are ready to fight the evil Empire! Kanan, Hera, and trusty old Chopper battle TIE fighters, while Sabine uses her artistic talents to outsmart Stormtroopers. Zeb never misses an opportunity to take down troopers, and Ezra scores a special souvenir at the crash site of an Imperial fighter.
What to Expect: Chapters, Friendship, Adventure, Action
For a basic introduction to the upcoming animated series and its rebellious cast, Rise of the Rebels perfectly summarizes each of the characters’ defining moments from the early episodes. Fans who attended Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort will be familiar with the book’s content, since the exclusive clips shown at the 5-week long event appear in greater detail in Rise of the Rebels. The average reader, however, may not have been in attendance. As a result, this book allows the casual reader (as well as the dedicated enthusiast) to catch up and become more acquainted with the protagonists of the series.
The book is divided into four parts with three chapters each: The Machine in the Ghost, Art Attack, Entanglement, and Property of Ezra Bridger. Each section incorporates modern graphic design elements, like the orange paint splatter and vibrantly colored character images, which keeps to the rebellious theme of the series. As previously mentioned, the chapters add depth and detail to the events that will transpire throughout the series. For example, the passages include thought processes from each character, “The TIE stood no chance against her attack from behind. Its explosion reminded Hera of fireworks on her home world of Ryloth.” The comparison isn’t information that would readily be available during the fast-paced and action-packed episode. Thus, the book allows characters to be more well-rounded within its pages, and since this is a character driven series, it’s a wonderful item for any reader looking to learn more about their favorite character(s).
As for this dedicated fan of Star Wars and Mandalorian culture, I enjoyed reading Sabine Wren’s section the most, the Mandalorian weapons expert and resident artist. Sabine’s ambitions and her pride in Mandalorian culture resonated with me, and the chapters only made me more excited about the series and the potential to learn more about her. His section also had a great passage from a Stormtrooper’s perspective, and as a fan of clone troopers from the prequel era, I found the different mentalities and motivations intriguing.
For other books that follow a character’s journey during this time period, readers may also be interested in Jason Fry’s junior novel, Servants of the Empire. Before that book series hits the shelves, I highly recommend that you or your child pick up a copy of Rise of the Rebels to prepare yourself for the action adventure coming to Disney XD this October. If you’re an eBook reader and prefer a digital version of the book, check out the Kindle Edition.