Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now available on home video, but with a PG-13 rating and some dark elements it’s not suitable for all ages. For kids who want to know the story and live the adventure in other ways, Disney Press has three wonderful options.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Read-Along Storybook & CD
Read-Along storybooks have been a Disney tradition going back to the 1960’s when the books were packaged with a small record. What modern fans likely don’t know is that Disneyland Records used to license non-Disney content for Read-Along records, which included the original Star Wars films (giving Disney access to the entire Lucasfilm sound effects catalogue). Disney now has all eight saga films available in Read-Along Storybook & CD sets and Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in March.
The entire auditory experience lasts a little over 20-minutes and is narrated by Michael D. Hanks. Audio from the film is inserted at key moments, with dialogue by Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Frank Oz, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. The audio also includes John Williams music from the film and sound effects.
The book itself is written by Elizabeth Schaefer with illustrations by Brian Rood. The illustrations appear to be closely modeled after screenshots from the film, some of them may even be screenshots with painterly enhancements. But regardless, they give kids a save visual for the story that allows them to experience a galaxy far, far away without actually watching a film that may be too intense for them.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rose and Finn’s Secret Mission
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rose and Finn’s Secret Mission is a softcover picture book by Ella Patrick recounts Finn’s journey in The Last Jedi from the moment he wakes up in his water suit to meeting Rose and going on an adventure with her in Canto Bight. For some odd reason, it abruptly ends right when they break out of jail with DJ (committing the fathiers rescue and face off with Captain Phasma).
Illustrations are again provided by Brian Rood, many of them repeated in the Read-Along book. The book also includes two pages of foil stickers, including artwork from the book. This is recommended for ages 6 to 8
World of Reading Level 2 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey’s Journey
World of Reading – Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey’s Journey is an early reader book recaps Rey’s arrival on Ahch-To and first meeting with Luke Skywalker. It does a great job of recapping her persistence in seeking Luke Skywalker’s help and the reasons why he was reluctant. Each page features about 20-25 words and images are provided by Brian Rood (many reused amongst the previous two books). It ends with Rey beginning her training. This book also contains two pages of stickers.
In my experience, preschoolers today can tell you all about Luke Skywalker and his extended family, despite having never seen a Star Wars film. With these three books suitable for ages 5 to 8, kids who may be too timid to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi can enjoy the saga and its characters in a way that is comfortable for them until they graduate to the films themselves.
Kids who like Star Wars might also like the picture book, Chewie and the Porgs.