Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia

Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia

Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia










Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia

Adam Bray

Cole Horton

Tricia Barr

DK Publishing, 2017

200pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99



Forty years ago when most of the world was dancing to Saturday Night Fever  George Lucas created a collection of characters who lived  “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. Star Wars was launched and Hans Solo,  Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2D2,, Eowks and Darth Vader became part of our vocabulary and light sabres and X-wings were in everyone’s home!

Fast forward to 2017 and Star Wars has more fans now than then and it holds the Guinness Book of records record for the most successful film merchandising franchise ever.  So on this, the 40th Star Wars day, this visual encyclopedia will be greeted with enthusiasm from fans new and old.  

The publisher describes it best…

“Covering more than 2500 characters, creatures, planets, vehicles, Droids, weapons, technology and more from the Star Wars universe, this visual tour is the ultimate compendium for the epic saga and beyond.

With a full history of the galactic politics, the Jedi Council, and the Empire, Star wars: The Visual Dictionary walks fans through the entire timeline of Star Wars.  Galleries of images and information on every page, including lightsabers, languages, clothing and more are showcased with fascinating facts and trivia…Discover the food, architecture, transportation and more from this galaxy far, far away.  Each section of the book focuses on different topics to dedicate special attention and detail to every part of the universe, no matter how small.  From the planets in the outer rim to Padme’s bridal wear, nothing is missed.

A celebration of all things Star Wars, this visual museum is the perfect addition to any fan’s bookshelf.”


Given that I couldn’t keep the books on the shelves in my primary library two years ago, this would also be a great addition to a library’s shelves too.

Star Wars Galactic Atlas

Star Wars Galactic Atlas

Star Wars Galactic Atlas











Star Wars Galactic Atlas

Tim McDonagh

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016

80pp., hbk.,  RRP $A39.99


While Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel told the story of the original three Star Wars movie, this magnificent tome is for the aficionado who want to know more and understand more.  In full colour and measuring 37cm x 27cm, huge double-page spreads cover everything from Endor and Naboo to Tatooine and Yavin 4, at the same time spanning the epic stories, the strange creatures and the glorious vistas of the galaxy of long ago and far, far away.

It contains everything a fan wants to know about the worlds and creatures of the Star Wars universe. Facts about planets and characters are woven into complex, brand-new illustrations that will keep them  busy for hours.

Your Star Wars fans will love this.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel

Star Wars

Star Wars











Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016

208pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


A long time ago in a galaxy far far away – well it was actually 1977 and the world was very different then – George Lucas released the first of his Star Wars movies and such was its impact that almost 40 years on those who saw it then are still fans and every day it gathers a new cohort, young and not-so-young.  Such was the success of the original, plans for more were made and in 1980 it was followed by The Empire Strikes Back and in 1983, The Return of the Jedi.

Since then there have been prequels and sequels and a massive merchandising franchise that it holds the Guinness World Records title for the “most successful film merchandising franchise. With the 40th anniversary clearly in sight this is only going to grow and so the release of a graphic novel -the preferred book format of so many- is sure to build a whole new legion of fans.  

Containing the three original films, now dubbed Episodes IV, V and VI this release will appeal to those who are already devotees (so many of my family and friends have asked for the review copies) as well as gather new ones.  For those in school libraries it will add another dimension to your Star Wars collections of both fiction and fact which never seem to stay on the shelf and always have a long reserve list, in my experience. Now the core of the phenomenon is accessible to even the most reluctant reader or new English speaker in print format and that alone, makes it a must-have.

And a certain Christmas stocking is sorted for me!

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO's Day Out

Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out











Adventure Time Which Way Dude: BMO’s Day Out

Cartoon Network, 2015

124pp., pbk., RRP $A14.95


BMO is the cutest, tiniest little robot in the Land of Ooo but the future of Ooo is in the hands of the reader because at the end of each chapter it is up to the reader to decide what happens next.  By solving riddles, puzzles and codes the reader can alter the characters paths thus leading them on to new adventures.  It’s a chance to let BMO be the hero for once.  Along the way the reader gathers Adventure Minutes and the challenge is to read the book many times, make different choices and try to better the number of Adventure Minutes gained.

A new take on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure format, written in the present tense to increase the pace and sense of urgency, this is likely to appeal to those who enjoy cartoons and computer games and can visualise the action. They will enjoy its interactivity as they try to solve the puzzles and the challenge to gain Adventure Minutes gives that competitive element that is a characteristic of the gaming environment.

If we are looking to capitalise of the interest in cartoons and computer games that our younger readers are so familiar with, offering them that in print format may be the way to hook them into a whole new world of adventure.

Star Wars Story Time Saga

Star Wars Story Time Saga

  Star Wars Story Time Saga










When R2-D2 saved the secret plans



When Luke Skywalker met Yoda


Chirpy Bird, 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A17.95

No one can have escaped the commotion that has accompanied the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with theatres being packed with parents who fell in love with the original of 30 years ago taking their children to share in the phenomenon.  But a saga that now spans seven full-length movies is a complex story so these books which outline the basis of the original concept will be very well-received by young readers.

In When R2-D2 saved the secret plans we meet R2-D2 and C-3PO who are on the little rebel ship that is trying to escape the big Imperial ship.  When the little rebel ship is rammed the Stormtroopers invade looking for Princess Leia who has some secret battle plans.  They are accompanied by Darth Vader, the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Army who orders the ship to be torn apart in his quest to find them.  Knowing time is running out, Princess Leia gives R2-D2 the plans to keep safe and knowing how important the plans are, he escapes unnoticed in a pod with C-P30 eventually landing on a sandy planet called Tatoonie.

The second in the series  When Luke Skywalker met Yoda takes a similar simplistic approach retelling the story of how Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 take the X-wing fighter to Dagobah to find Yoda who will guide him in his quest to become a Jedi Knight. After a lot of physical training, Luke is required to venture into a cave “strong with the dark side of the Force” armed only with his fitness and his lightsabre.  Inside the cave he comes face to face with Darth Vader himself and after a battle, Darth Vader just vanishes. Luke then discovers that this had been a test set by Yoda and he had failed so there was still much for him to do.  Yoda then sets another test which Luke also fails because he gives up.  Luke still has valuable lessons to learn but as he continues his training and is beginning to master the Force, he has visions of his friends being in trouble and he knows he must go to help them.

There is no doubt that when the new school term starts interest in all things Star Wars will be higher than ever so having these two titles on offer for the youngest readers with the promise of two more – When Princess Leia Met the Ewoks  and When the rebels saved Hans Solo (both published this month) – to come will be a major drawcard to both the library and reading.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight









Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

Tony DiTerlizzi

Ralph McQuarrie

Egmont UK, 2015

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.95


This is the story of Luke Skywalker’s journey from farm boy on Tatooine to Jedi Knight told in the words of award-winning author Tony DiTerlizzi and matched with the remarkable paintings of Ralph McQuarrie, the concept artist behind the series that has captivated generations since its first release in May, 1977.

There are those so much more able than I to review this new book from this iconic series, many of whom are in or near their 40s and are still devoted fans of the series that was an integral part of their childhood lives and remains a cultural phenomenon still sought after by the young students I teach today.  So I will just use the words of the foreword by the author…

“It may be difficult to imagine, but there was a time when Star Wars was not a part of our popular culture.  Long before the toys, books and lunch boxes, and even before the first feature film flickered on a movie screen, Star Wars existed in the imagination of only one man: George Lucas. Working from Lucas’s various screenplay drafts and through a creative collaboration with the writer-director, visionary artist Ralph McQuarrie realised a universe filled with unlikely heroes, sinister villains and otherworldly vistas.

Rendered in his muted palette and streamlined style, McQuarrie’s gouache concept paintings depict what are now some of the most iconic moments in the original Star Wars trilogy… Though Star Wars is a major film franchise, its genesis was told with words and pictures, so it is with great pride that I return this epic battle of good versus evil to its original form.”

I could get myself massive brownie points with certain family and friends if I were to pass this book on to them, but given the voracity for this series amongst my young clients, I know it will be a surefire hit on the library’s shelves instead.

Lyka’s Adventure: Lyka and the Secret Forest

Lyka's Adventure

Lyka’s Adventure











Lyka’s Adventure: Lyka and the Secret Forest

Atley Loughridge

Penguin, 2014



Planet Ahmee is dying, and there’s only one robot with a heart big enough to rescue it. Lyka, lovable friend to all living creatures, sets off across the galaxy on a quest to find the answers about the natural world that will save her home from the deadly disaster that is climate change. Leaving behind everything she knows and loves, Lyka must travel through space to the strange and wild land of the scientist who created her . . . planet Earth! In a high-octane race against time, she will cross all seven continents to find hidden symbols and unlock the knowledge they represent. Will she make it before Ahmee collapses and Lyka’s fellow robots are lost in space forever?

But this is not just a storybook.  Created by Lance Weiler, it is a multi-modal experience featuring not just the book but also a plush toy that has a special pocket in its heart for the reader to insert their smartphone to download and activate an app that unlocks a lot more to accompany the story including  extra story content, activities, and sneak peeks into Lyka’s world..  (The app can be downloaded without the toy – an activation code is included in the introductory pages of the book.) There are also websites – and – and the concept is explained at

However, it is much more than a gadget-driven, short-lived experience because it has been deliberately created in a partnership between Penguin Books Australia and Connected Sparks to support the Australian Curriculum Sustainability cross-curriculum priority.  Lyka travels across the Australia addressing key environmental issues using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).  Penguin have developed a range of resources to support this learning and there will be a series of eight chapter books which have all been reviewed by scientists and science teachers plus the Cloud Institute for Sustainability in Education. 

This may herald the future face of children’s reading = and their expectations of it.  Multi-modal and multi-media that engages them through real-life issues and interactivity, introducing 6-10 year olds to their world in a unique way.