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What do you get when you put Star Wars and Dorling Kindersley (DK) Publishing together? A pretty fun, interesting and educational book. I believe the first DK book I read was back in 1989; something about NASA and the Space Shuttle. Twenty three years later, I find myself immersed in another DK book but this time it’s on my iPad. Let’s check out Star Wars: R2D2 and Friends (Enhanced Edition).
No matter if you’re 9 years old or 29 years old, if you have any interest in Star Wars and its characters, Star Wars: R2D2 and Friends is great for any age. Written by Simon Beercroft, this is 1 of 2 books he has published through the DK Readers series for iOS (iBook). According to the DK Readers Reading Program, this iBook is ranked at level 2. This means the child is ready to begin reading alone; but you can join in (of course). In the event he or she wants to be read to, the iBook has audio included. However, in case it’s too complex for the child, Beercroft has another title in the iBookstore called Ready, Set Podrace! This also has audio and is ranked at level 1.
Throughout all six episodes of Star Wars, we can recognize 2 Droids, R2D2 and C-3PO. Yet, the galaxy is filled with many other types of Droids. Instead of scouring the internet and all the Wiki-links to Star Wars fan sites, Beercroft has compiled some of the most important and recognizable Droids in his iBook. Although the iBook is 36 pages, the font is quite large and each page has very colorful and compelling photographs of each Droid he mentions. Also, along side the narrative, there are small anecdotes about the Droids. For example:
TC-14 looks like C-3PO, but she is silver not gold.
As usual, the iBook functions are pretty standard in this iBook. If you press on a word, you can define it. A light tap of the screen will bring up the buttons to toggle on and off the audio, control the screen’s brightness, search for a word and bookmark your spot. Also, a light tap will bring up the whole book at the bottom; an easy way to navigate and skip ahead. One thing the iBook doesn’t do is rotate to portrait mode. I understand that some of the photographs are meant to be seen in landscape mode, but there are some instances where portrait would be easier to read; especially with one hand free. Also, if possible, small clips of video would have really made the iBook extremely interactive.
I won’t lie, I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about Star Wars. This simple yet entertaining read definitely schooled me on a few of the characters. The book is well written and easy enough for a young and growing mind to understand. Learning about all the different Droids and machines that helped the Empire and Rebel Alliance was very educational. If my eight year old son had any interest in Star Wars (yeah, I know), he’d be all over this book. What’s my gauge? He has no interest and he was still very interested in the iBook. And of course, other than Star Wars mythology, your child will learn proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Plus, with the audio, your child can hear the proper pronunciation of each word. And no, a Droid doesn’t read to them so they won’t start sounding like a robot.
If you want to see more DK Readers Star Wars books, they’ve got them available for purchase right here on their website. If you want to stick to iBooks or eBooks, DK has 4 full colored copies for iOS, Color Nook and the Kindle Fire. All of them cost around $2.99 each. 7 million copies sold can’t be wrong.
One More Thing…
DK Publishing’s books were a big part of my literary life growing up. Now that they’ve got both physical and iBooks available for their audience just makes it easier for everyone to enjoy their books. There is no doubt that I would recommend this book. In fact, the DK Readers series is a great start if you’re not sure what books to get your children. And if they like Star Wars, DK Publishing is having a Star Wars Reads Day on October 6th. Check it out here for more details.
Enjoy reading you will!