Review: Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Star Wars: Jedi Academy
By Jeffrey Brown
In Stores September, 2013
Find it at:
Books with ties to popular television or movie franchises are a dime a dozen. Well, maybe five dollars for 12, but you get the idea. They’re usually pretty straightforward affairs and more often than not there isn’t much there to hang your hat on in terms of personality or creativity. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a book like Star Wars: Jedi Academy enter this realm. It stands out as a wholly entertaining and unique take on a franchise that is still capturing the imagination of kids.
After finishing primary school on Tatooine, Roan Novachez has his heart set on following his older brother’s footsteps to flight school. Then the bad news arrives – application denied. Roan’s life takes a turn when he receives a letter inviting him to Jedi Academy. Roan accepts but is a fish out of water, with classmates have been at the academy for years. From field trips to student council elections, school dances to first crushes Roan navigates through the ups and downs of the year, eventually realizing that Jedi Academy is where he belongs.
The story is told through Roan’s journal entries and comics, but also a host of “primary sources” – letters, school flyers, classrooom assignments – even the school newspaper. This handmade feel is a nice contrast to the smooth and sleek way the Star Wars universe is typically presented.
Brown doesn’t just regurgitate Star Wars details – he gives a sense of what the universe would be like for a kid. This fresh perspective results in humor that often hits its mark.
Aside from inhabiting similar heavily illustrated territory as Bad Kitty, Captain Underpants, and the new Arnie the Doughnut chapter book (among others), it’s a perfect lead in to the immensely popular Origami Yoda series (itself another well-crafted book with Star Wars connections) . With humor and subtle heart, Jedi Academy is destined to fly off shelves everywhere. Be sure to pick up multiples.
Review copy from the publisher.
Watch the Star Wars: Jedi Academy book trailer:
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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