By Michael Kogge
Age Range: 6 to 8 years
Grade Level: 1 to 3
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (June 9, 2015)
Book Description: When Kanan is captured by the Empire, Ezra, Sabine, and the rest of the Ghost crew must work together to save their friend. But what how can their rag-tag team hope to stand up to the might of Agent Kallus, the Inquisitor, and Grand Moff Tarkin? The rebels are in for their most daring adventure yet!
What to Expect: Full-color designs, Chapters, Challenging Vocabulary, Adventure, Action
Source: Review copy
Kanan and Ezra are dueling with the Inquisitor, when suddenly, the Inquisitor sends his lightsaber spiraling through the air, knocking Ezra off of the platform. It’s an intense, action-filled sequence that passes quickly before Kanan continues to fight the Inquisitor with renewed focus. But, what was running through Kanan’s mind when he saw his Padawan fall? Author Michael Kogge briefly explores that in the Star Wars Rebels chapter book Battle to the End. In it, he wrote, “Kanan stretched out with the Force. He made a tender, fatherly connection to Ezra for what might be the last time. May the Force be with you, Ezra Bridger.” It’s moments like these that make the stories we’ve seen on screen more enjoyable to read.
Battle to the End is based on the final three episodes of the first season: “Call to Action”, “Rebel Resolve”, and “Fire Across the Galaxy”. It’s a quick read for fans looking to experience the episodes through a different medium. Despite the subtle details added here and there, as seen above with Kanan, there were some missed opportunities throughout the book. In past chapter books, I found myself enjoying the passages of internal dialogue and getting inside the head of the characters, but Battle to the End turned out to be more of a direct retelling of what happened on the screen without the added morsels of information. Some scenes were also missing or briefly glossed over, such as Ezra’s connection with the Loth-cat and the Kanan and Hera hug after being reunited. For young independent readers, however, the book serves as a great source of reading practice. After all, the book caters to that particular audience, so the reading level and vocabulary are suitable for that age group.
One thing that really stood out to me that I quite appreciate is how Kogge writes Chopper. He gives the cantankerous astromech droid more personality and attitude. Kogge also does a great job of writing certain parts from the point of view of the stormtroopers. And despite not seeing much of Ezra’s internal thoughts throughout the book, my favorite part came during his search for Kanan. We get to see Ezra channel the Force in a way that’s not readily seen on the screen, and as a big fan of the young Jedi-in-training, it was great seeing him put his teachings from Kanan to good use.
Overall, I wish we could have seen more character depth by diving into the minds of the protagonists, especially given the fast-paced nature of the episodes. That said, however, the chapter book does a great job at summarizing the episodes without missing any of the essential events. Its ultimate purpose is to allow young readers to successfully read independently with little supervision. And of course, above all else, it provides that particular age group another opportunity to revisit and re-experience the adventures of the Ghost crew without having to sit in front of a television or computer screen to do so. Finally, there is an adequate amount of rich vocabulary to help increase reading comprehension of young children and challenge them as they immerse themselves in their favorite Star Wars Rebels stories.
Battle to the End is currently available to purchase.