Star Wars Builders Sets Give Fans Information, Interactivity

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Star Wars Builders Droids

Since entering fatherhood, I have encountered a new phenomenon in publishing. Well, it's new to me, anyway. Prior to my graduation, books were things that had a cover -- either hard or soft -- and pages in between. Sometimes pictures. (Okay, quite often lots of pictures. I read a lot of graphic novels.)

Once the short human took up residence, however, I found completely different kinds of books. Not just the kind where each and every page was a half-inch thick cardboard slab (that he still managed to chew the corners off of; beaver DNA, don't ya know?) . No, these were "activity" books. They had compartments in the back to store things, like miniature charactes and a roll out map of a scene on which the characters would play. Where was this when I was trying to map out troop movements while reading LORD OF THE RINGS?

Another form of this blending of the tactile with the textual comes from Silver Dolphin, by way of their STAR WARS BUILDERS series. With these, readers are given the component parts to be punched out of cardboard and assembled into droids and ships from the franchise. The book portions are not assembly instructions, however, but rather in-depth details on what the devices are, how they were made, what they can do, and how they were utilized in the STAR WARS films and affiliate media, in 64 pages of information with full color photographs taken from the movies.

STAR WARS BUILDERS: DROIDS comes with everything you need to make a 3-D paper model of C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8, while getting into the nitty gritty of protocol droids, battle droids, super battle droids, mining droids -- even droids that have gone rogue, like IG-88 and 4-LOM, and the beings that make a living scavenging droids and their parts.

STAR WARS BUILDERS: STARFIGHTERS lets you build the classic X-Wing and TIE fighters, while delving into the other ships seen in the series, like the A-Wing, B-Wing, Sith Infiltrator, Naboo Starfighters -- even Jango Fett's Slave I gets an entry.

The only book I had some disappointment with was STAR WARS BUILDERS: MILLENNIUM FALCON. As the title suggests, you get to build the iconic smuggling ship that set the record for the Kesel Run. However, the information on the ship, while detailed, is haphazard in its presentation, flipping back and forth from technical details to pilot history (even here jumping back and forth in chronology from young-to-old-to-young Han Solo) to events in the movie franchise and back to technical details again. If the pages had been organized into sections that were more intuitive, I'd have been much happier with this book.

Each of the books concludes with a two-page quiz to test your reading comprehension skills and to prepare you for the Star Wars section of whatever trivia night you have coming up.

Quibbles aside, these are the kind of things that would make great large-scale additions to your child's Easter basket this year!

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0