Since the first images of BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans have fallen in love with the droid. This orange and white, mechanical sidekick has become a popular character, especially with children. Retailers have responded with a variety of BB-8 merchandise; including books for even the youngest fans. Star Wars: Rolling with BB-8! boardbook by Benjamin Harper is a fun read for toddlers and preschoolers.
Rolling with BB-8! is an introduction to BB-8’s story for little ones. The story is simple, and for adults or older fans may seem incomplete; as the story only covers events that happened in the first third of the movie. For young ones though, the 10 page length is ideal. It is definitely a quick read. As for content, again it seems a little light for children five and older, but those that are younger, it is just enough to satisfy them.
The real highlight of this book though is its interactive front cover and Brian Rood’s illustrations. Readers will love how the front cover BB-8 can spin and move in different directions mimicking the movements of the on-screen droid. Both his circular body and head can move separately. It is as fun too spin the pieces as it is to read the book itself. Once inside, the illustrations showcase key moments from The Force Awakens. Brian Rood has illustrated scenes from the movie in such a way that the illustrations are more like photographs than drawings. My five year-old enjoyed talking about what was happening in each of the pictures, which extended and enriched our reading time. He is a BB-8 fan and though he is at the top end of the recommended age for this book, he loves for me to read it to him again and again.
Overall, this book has me conflicted. As a parent, I like that there is a book for my budding Star Wars fan that is interactive and age-appropriate. As a fan, I wish the author would have extended BB-8’s story to cover the entire movie. I felt like the book ended abruptly. Little readers won’t be able to tell anything is missing, so the quick stop isn’t a negative for the target audience. If anything, it may increase their desire to get more Star Wars books. As a first book for young fans, this book is a solid choice. It will entertain them and hopefully start or continue their journey with this beloved fandom.