Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi by Jack and Holman Wang

Of course there is a specific market for Star Wars: Epic Yarns, the trilogy of books by twins Jack and Holman Wang, creators of Cozy Classics. However, this happens to be a very large market - one that has raised their children and grandchildren with these movies as part of their lives. Why am I reviewing these books? I was one of those people who stood in line, more than once, as a child to see Star Wars and have my universe expanded. My daughter was four years old when she saw the trilogy, released in theaters again in celebration of the 20th anniversary. It was a part of my childhood that was exciting to share with my first born. 11 years later when my third child was born, I was pretty much over it. Of course, I had sat through the prequel trilogy by then and was kind of over it. Although I did get a kick out of the mini-versions of scenes from the film created for Legoland.

However, I am really, truly impressed with what Jack and Holman Wang have done with the three books in Star Wars: Epic Yarns. First of all, the art of felting has always impressed and mystified me. Happily, there is a video and article, The Process of Felting the Force, on this process, both of which are fascinating. Secondly, with Star Wars: Epic Yarns, the Wangs present twelve scenes from each movie accompanied by a single, defining word for each scene. Together, these twelve words and scenes tell the stories.  Star Wars: Epic Yarns: A New Hope is comprised of these twelve words: princess, trouble, boy, learn, captain, space, help, garbage, swing, duel, fly and heroes. The nifty thing about these books being so concisely minimal is that parents will be inspired to fill in the gaps and tell the story in their own words. The other really lovely thing about these books is the felting. It softens everything, the black dots for eyes on the characters adding another layer of gentleness to the scenes.

Jack and Holman Wang's Cozy Classics is the name of the series of board books they published prior to teaming up with Chronicle Books to publish Star Wars: Epic Yarns. Chronicle will be reissuing the original Cozy Classics (see below) and three new titles: Great Expectations, The Nutcracker and The Wizard of Oz! If you have read this far and this whole thing still sounds absurd to you, I urge you to read what Jack and Holman Wang themselves say about their books, which I think is pretty cool:

We want to be clear about one thing: Cozy Classics are not intended to provide babies with any kind of academic leg up. Our books are not meant to help you fast-track your toddler to Harvard! Unfortunately, in the minds of many, classics are associated with academics, but no classic was written for the classroom; every one was written to give pleasure. We prefer to get away from the classroom and have kids grow up thinking of The Great Books as great fun.
We hope that Cozy Classics—along with a vast army of other books—will help parents create a fun “literacy-rich environment” that will pave the way for success with reading. If parents present one of our word primers to their children with just that little extra bit of enthusiasm because they are sharing a story or characters they love themselves, then we will have done our tiny part in helping parents model an engaged and affectionate relationship with books.

The Wang brothers created the GOOGLE DOODLE for February 7, 2015, celebrating Laura Ingalls Wilder's 148th birthday!

The Cozy Classics!

Source: Review Copies

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