Tomorrow, October 5th, marks the 2nd Annual Star Wars reads day. What goes together better than Star Wars and literacy you might ask? Nothing. Check out the Star Wars Reads website to find an event near you, or grab a great book and read at home.
Now, my favorite Star Wars-themed reading is Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series. But there’s a new book in town, Jeffrey Brown’s Star Wars: Jedi Academy (the same Jeffrey Brown who gave us Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess). At first glance, this book seems … derivative, equal parts Origami Yoda, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Captain Underpants. While that’s not an incorrect assessment, Jedi Academy seems so much fresher than that.
Young Roan Novachez lives on Tatooine with his family. He believes his destiny is to attend Pilot Academy Middle School, like his older brother. He’d be a third-generation pilot. What could go wrong? As all of his friends started getting their acceptance letters to Pilot Academy, his rejection arrives, with almost no explanation. Just when he thinks he’ll end up at Tatooine Agriculture Academy, he gets a new letter. This one is his acceptance to Jedi Academy. Everyone thinks that’s pretty weird because normally kids get accepted to Jedi Academy when they’re toddlers. When Roan arrives at Jedi Academy, he finds himself way behind the other kids. What is this force they’re talking about? How do you get it. And more importantly, how do you use it?
Jedi Academy follows Roan’s adventures, comic-book-style, as he acclimates to his new school, starts making friends, deals with bullies, and learns from Master Yoda and his other teachers. The portrayal of Yoda is probably the funniest thing about the book. He’s a mysterious sage who laughs a lot and is obsessed with soup. His other teachers are hilarious, too. I’m particularly fond of Kitmum, the lady wookie gym teacher.
Any kid with even a passing interest in Star Wars should find this book funny. There’s even a few jokes in there for grown-ups. (Was that a Walt Whitman Dead Poet’s Society reference I caught? And how about the class president, Ronald, who looks like Reagan?) Olive whipped through the book, and then had a mini book club discussion with the Star Wars obsessed kids at the bus stop this morning. They all agree: Buy it you should. Read it you must.