Review: Star Wars Rebels Colouring Activity Book

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Review: Star Wars Rebels Colouring Activity Book (or, Getting Stuck With Chopper)

It’s more than a little weird to review this book. For me, a review is for an item that, if favourable, I will then go out and buy. But this book, the Star Wars Colouring Activity book by Egmont Publishing isn’t one I’d typically think of as a book that you’d go out and buy, say, as a gift (after having read, and thus have need of reading this review). But rather it’s an impulse buy. Now, I realise these preceding words could sound negative, but I honestly mean no such connotation. When I first looked at this book I instinctively felt that it was something I’d pick up either because one of the small humans saw it and – hypothetically speaking, of course. They’re wonderful kids, really – made some sort of noises to indicate that they wanted it, and then made further noises to indicate that they wouldn’t stop until they had the book in their possession. At which point I duly succumb to their threat and buy it. Or perhaps you’re about to set off on a long journey and realise that The Kids need something to do, and you pick this up thinking ‘this is Star Wars. They like Star Wars. I buy this and sleep well tonight.’ That’s what I mean by an impulse buy. And it’s a good book for that. It’ll shut them up great. Colouring does that. Gagging does, too, but I’m not allowed to do that any more. Not that I have. Or would. Look, there’s no point in assigning blame, let’s get on with the review.

The book itself itself is small, roughly forty pages filled with pictures to colour in and activities to do. There are a few other things, which I’ll elaborate on later, but for now let’s focus on those two.

The colouring pictures consist, essentially, of the main characters in various poses, which you can then decorate (I’m foraging in my thesaurus for anything besides ‘colour in’. It was either that or use a euphemism – like ‘spelunking’). Occasionally you’re asked to be faithful to the original design or tasked with being creative in your vandalism, but luckily there’s no such thing as Festooning Police (yet. This shall be my first act as Prime Overlord) so you or whomever owns the book can festoon however you see fit. At other times you can spruce up pictures of various ships (and at one point, asteroids. It was rather trippy seeing green asteroids). Niece, who often helps me test out books, enjoyed these, though I did notice she didn’t put so much effort into the face on 2D images, which I sort of understand. It’s hard to be engaged in detailed designs when the image are relatively alien concepts to you. She’s used to 3D images of the ships, not top town 2D images.

Beyond that, you can do some sort of grid design copy drawing. Sorry, I’m not very familiar with this type of drawing, though I gather it’s a standard practice; essentially you’re given an image in a grid, and in a larger, empty grid you then draw the image. It was a little bit weird for me, but the end result was some fairly accurate depictions, so I can’t complain too much. Lastly, you’re occasionally asked to draw your own hero, villain or space ship. Niece and I both found this to be rather entertaining, especially as a lot of people in Star Wars fandom so dislike nonstandard lightsaber designs, so it was fun to think up increasingly weird and flamboyant weapons.

‘No one will ever think of thi- oh bugger.’

As for the activities, they’re the fairly standard maze, a sudoku-like thingy, spot the difference, word search, etc. All fairly easy to do, not much of a challenge. Well, maybe the spot the difference. That can be difficult for people of all ages, and there’s no shame at all if you’re, say, 25 and unable to find the last one. Shuddup that’s always the hardest. Moving on. What else? Ah! And a word scramble. Essentially you are given some letters, which you then unscramble to identify a villain. If you’re not great with names of characters on the show, this may be difficult. Even I was stumped on one or two. I (honestly, for about two minutes) could not get ‘TPSOROOTRMRSE’. Who on earth is that?!

‘Doug?’

There’s also a personality test, to find out which rebel you are – though the answers are limited to just Zeb, Hera, Chopper and Sabine. I’m personally a little bit weird (in the negative sense) about personality tests. For me, I know who I want to be, and so adjust my answers accordingly (unfortunately I still got Chopper. I am not a fan of Chopper), and as such the test never really fits to me, rather I fit the test. That might just be me, though. But beyond that, with some rebels lacking, some may be disappointed if you’re a Kanan or Ezra fan, and are thus unable to identify yourself as that person.

Last of note is a game called Droid Workshop. The majority of these activities are ones done alone, yet this, curiously, is a communal game. A group of people start with a piece of plain paper each, and then proceed to draw a droid head, swap papers with each other, draw another piece, and so on and so forth until you have a full astromech. The game itself, being communal, does rather stick out like a sore thumb, but it was a decent addition, and so I note it here.

I had previously mentioned that there are other things besides activities and pictures to … bedeck. These come in two forms; the first being character profiles. These are the normal ‘Age, Species, Homeworld, Special Skills, Signature Equipment, Likes and Dislikes’ and are, admittedly, somewhat forgettable. The only things that piqued my interest were the ages – I had no idea Zeb was 39. Though he being an alien, that may be the Lasat equivalent of early puberty. Sorry, I’m straying off topic. But another thing was the one line at the end of the Chopper bio: ‘Dislikes: almost everything.’ That had a bit of charm to it that I appreciated, and would have liked to see more of that.

The second thing is a number of full-page images – shots from, as far as I can tell, the TV show or the attendant promotional material. As I was flipping through the book, I had had the thought that these would make nice A4-sized posters, when I noticed the little dotted line on the spine-side of the page, indicating that yes, they are indeed supposed to be cut out. It is, ultimately, a small thing, but I liked it. Books sometimes come with an air of stuffiness; with the unsaid order that they shouldn’t be tampered. For the most part, I agree, but I recall a few years ago picking up a used copy of Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale; notes from the previous owner had been doodled in in the margins. I usually don’t, but I delighted in this unsaid permission, that yes, I could leave my mark, too. And in a similar vein, I like the permission given in this colouring book that I – I mean, The Kids – can cut these pictures out and hang them on the wall. After all, they are nice pictures, and deserve to be released from the confines of a book.

However, I do say that with one caveat: All the Rebels are represented in poster form (even, thankfully, Hera and Sabine), except for Ezra. Personally I don’t mind, because I sometimes feel that the focus, both in the show and the media surrounding it, is too much on Ezra. But my personal preferences don’t mean much if you’re a fan of Ezra, and want a picture of him. So, you know, do with that information what you will.

Sorry that sounded rather mysterious and cloak and dagger, didn’t it? Whoopsie.

Michael Dare

Star Wars Rebels Colouring Activity Book by Egmont Publishing is out now in UK bookstores. Thank you to Egmont for providing a copy for review purposes.

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