Sabine, My Rebel Sketchbook was a much anticipated read at our household. It is the diary/sketchbook of Sabine Wren from the animated Star Wars Rebels series. Sabine is sixteen, Mandalorian, formerly of the Imperial Academy, an explosives expert and artist. She’s cool and confident, characteristics which make her loved by many Rebels fans. This book, available on February 3, is targeted to ages six to ten. It is also the first book featuring one of the female Rebels characters. The book is written by Daniel Wallace and illustrated by Annie Stoll.
The book reads as Sabine’s sketchbook/diary, beginning just before Ezra joins the crew of the Ghost. The pictures are appealingly drawn, a mixed media combination showing us Sabine’s world, from her room on the Ghost to the other characters and her thoughts on various topics.
Like the other books I have reviewed that are linked to Rebels, the contents of the book mesh nicely with the series to this point, and are told with a fresh eye from Sabine’s point of view of the episodes. I think Lucasfilm has done a particularly good job coordinating the books with the series. I enjoyed Sabine’s thoughts on galactic music, artistic mediums for self-expression, and her own art inspirations. Her sketches of her temporary tattoos and colored haircuts (including a bioluminescent one) were sweetly on target for a sixteen year old. There are also several pages in the back with sketches for the reader to continue in the sketchbook, which I thought was a really nice touch, especially fun for six to ten year olds to be encouraged to draw in a book!
Unfortunately, both the Padawan and I were ultimately disappointed by Sabine’s book. As Padawan succinctly put it, “It really doesn’t seem like Sabine.” I found this true to be as well. I found the lack of page numbers a bit disorienting. Many times I found myself doubting if a sixteen year old girl’s sketchbook/diary would have such a spastic feel, especially as Sabine is very cool and collected in the show.
Especially disturbing was the entry on pages 9-10, early on in the book, when Sabine describes bomb making. Yes, it’s a book about a Rebel in a galaxy far, far away, but as a parent, I felt uncomfortable that a book for six to ten year olds would glorify a girl who spent time holed away in her room, making bombs, especially given all the high school violence in the news. Sabine says, “Nothing makes me smile quite as wide as when I blow something up that once belonged to the Empire.” Later, she says about her seat at the nose turret, “I also started marking the instrument panel with a running tally, showing how many TIEs I’ve smoked since I signed on.” That also struck me as more violent than how Sabine seems to me on the show. Of course, every parent should discuss what their children are reading with them, and these points can become nice teaching moments or a good entryway to discuss current events with younger children. But for me, I felt those passages in particular made me hesitant to unconditionally recommend the book to parents of children in the target age group.
Overall, Sabine, My Rebel Sketchbook is a beautifully drawn supplement for the avid Rebels book collector. I enjoyed reading Sabine’s point of view and comparing it to my own regarding particular episodes. My personal recommendation is for parents to read this one along with a younger audience.
The publisher provided FANgirl Blog a copy of this book.
Linda has been a Star Wars fan from the time she saw Episode IV in the theatre with her parents and insisted on being Han Solo while playing with the neighborhood kids. She’s now a fangirl who splits her time learning to twirl a bo staff like Ray Park, jumping horses, writing fanfic she dreams up on her commute to work, and spending time with her husband and their own feisty Padawan version of Ahsoka. She can be reached at Linda.HansenRaj@gmail.com and on Twitter.
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