This month Disney Publishing has released a number of Star Wars Rebels books, including a gorgeous picture book with concept art from the show, early readers, and chapter books.
Every book contains an introduction to the band of rebels that star in the series: Jedi Kanan, pilot Hera, bruiser Zeb, Mandalorian artist Sabine, droid Chopper, and our hero, Ezra Bridger. If your kids have any interest in the new Star Wars Rebels show, these books are a fantastic place to start.
Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero is a picture book with scenes comprised of the show’s concept art. Written by Pablo Hidalgo, experienced Star Wars author and part of the Lucasfilm Story Group, the story is told from Ezra’s point of view as he talks about his life on the planet Lothal and his new friends. This is a text-heavy book for a picture book, so while it might not be best suited for reading to a toddler or preschooler at bedtime, kids 6-8 will love looking at the beautiful art and learning more about Ezra and the crew of the Ghost. The book’s pages are filled with art based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original Star Wars concept art, making it worth picking up by Star Wars fans of almost any age.
Ezra and the Pilot and Zeb to the Rescue are both easy readers that introduce the title characters with scenes from the show. Ezra is a 14-year-old living alone on the planet Lothal, and he isn’t pleased with the strong Imperial presence on his home. Zeb is a bruiser whose tough exterior hides a heart of gold. He’s a Lasat, an alien species with only a few remaining in the galaxy. (His appearance is based on McQuarrie’s original concept for Chewbacca.)
Ezra’s Gamble is a chapter book for ages 8-12, and the Rebels tie-in I enjoyed reading the most. The book follows Ezra before he meets the crew of the Ghost, as he finds himself in the middle of a bounty hunting adventure with notorious bounty hunter Bossk. The pages are filled with action and blaster fire. This chapter book gives the most interesting depiction of his personality, and introduces the world of Rebels (which takes place five years before the events of A New Hope) while keeping a Star Wars feel.
Rise of the Rebels, also a chapter book, dedicates a few pages to each member of the Star Wars Rebels crew. I’d have loved reading a little more about Kanan, but I particularly enjoyed the story featuring Mandalorian artist Sabine. Her unique art style is carried through the book design, adding some color and a distinctive graffiti style to the Star Wars universe.
The stories in these books overlap a bit, so while you don’t need to pick all of them up to get acquainted with the Star Wars Rebels crew, I do recommend getting one or two to get an idea of the galaxy they inhabit. Star Wars Rebels comes to Disney Channel this October.
GeekMom received promotional copies for review purposes.
Kelly Knox is a mom and freelance writer in the Seattle area, where she contributes to local parenting publications. You can find Kelly rambling about comic books, video games, and more on Twitter at @kelly_knox.