Jeffrey Brown has made a small trade of late in writing kids books set in and around the universe of Star Wars, often silly strange juxtapositions, such as Darth Vader And Son, with the Darth Vader we know having to raise a toddler Luke Skywalker., with it's follow up Vader's Little Princess doing the same with little Leia. A collection of threaded together gags, they are fun, warm, silly and incredibly entertaining.
And a strange juxtaposition, if you'd just finished reading Jeffrey Brown's Clumsy. But not that strange.
But his third Star Wars book is a departure, and seems to owe much to that mixture of diary and illustration that is the moster-selling Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. However it has far more emphasis on panel to panel storytelling that it's much easier to call Star Wars: Jedi Academy a comic or graphic novel without controversy. Here are a couple of example pages.
Because, more than the first two books, this is an actual story. A young boy who gets plucked out from applying for Pilot Academy to join Jedi Academy, under the personal intervention of Yoda. And we get the day-to-day trials of a boy trying to master the Force and deal with fellow pupils and teachers. The emotional highs, lows, successes and failures, with enough self-awareness of the Star Wars culture to keep it funny. We get a typical multiple choice question, A Jedi Must a) Try, b) Try Not c) Do d) Do Not.
What did you put?
It's also much larger than the previous books, clocking in at 160 pages to their 60 pages, for a lower price as well, $12.99 instead or $14.99, possibly by stint of being black-and-white.
The previous books have sold well. This deserves to do better by delivering a more complex narrative with great ambition – but still being the cutesy version of Star Wars that parents can read to their young children in an attempt to indoctrinate them.