I grew up loving Star Wars, so I have complicated feelings about the current popularity of the franchise. On the one hand, I love how easy it is to find Star Wars books, t-shirts, and coloring books. On the other hand, I worry that it won’t be the same weird, secret club for my children that it was for me. It’s just so normal these days. That said, my children (and their gift-giving grandparents) have embraced Star Wars with open arms. Of all the toys and books we have floating around our house, only one has been the family favorite for years: Star Wars Character Encyclopedia.
Each page features a different Star Wars character with pictures from the movies and details about the character. The book has over 200 characters, so there are some people in here even I didn’t know. Our toddler was obsessed with the Wampa when she was first learning to talk, and that page has been ripped and taped back together more times than we can count. (If you think there’s nothing cuter than a baby trying to say, “Wampa,” you are correct.)
Our oldest practically taught himself to read with this book and has made more than one version of his own (complete with Data Files). If you’re an uncle or cousin who also loves Star Wars, you probably got one of his personalized copies for Christmas two years ago. Despite all my fun lesson plans, this is the book that finally solidified the idea of an index for him.
The cover of our copy has been taped back on twice now. It’s due for a third time but no one can find the back cover. I have half a mind to toss it out, but it’s been such a longstanding favorite that I’m not sure I can. I did find an updated version online, however, that might be finding its way into a certain child’s birthday presents next week.
This isn’t the kind of book I normally think to review, but as I hunted under my bed for the covers this morning, I asked myself why. Is this a place for just Serious Literature? Obviously not. Am I too good to admit to a shelf full of commercial books selling a franchise to my kids? Sometimes, but there they sit nonetheless. We’ve loved this book to pieces and we think you will too.
For those of you not interested in Star Wars, carry on. For the rest of you, can we talk about how The Force Awakens keeps the peace at our house? There’s finally a movie we can all agree on instead of alternating between my insistence that we only watch the original three and my children begging to watch Episode I again. Here’s hoping this year’s installment is equally awesome. Until then, we’ll be over here looking for the back cover to our book.