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How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communication Manual I.M Rollin and illustrated JAKe (book review).

February 12, 2021 | By | Reply More

‘How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communications Manual’ is a follow-up to the ‘How To Speak’ books on R2D2 and Wookies, previously published by Chronicle Books and written and illustrated by JAKe, an artist who has not only worked on ‘Star Wars’ but also properties such as Titan Comics’ ‘Doctor Who’ series.

How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communication Manual by I.M Rollin, illustrations by JAKe (Chronicle Books) © & ™ 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd.

Presented in the form of a guide, the book explains to the reader the features of BB-8 as defined by its personality traits, eg how helpful and resourceful he is. Each page points to a phrase BB-8 makes, which you can hear for yourself by pushing the button of a speaker embedded in the bottom right corner of the book. Want to hear BB-8 say, ‘I could use a little help here’? Simply press button 3 and the speaker makes the noise. This is not only fun, but a useful way of frightening the cat.

The book itself is made out of thick cardboard, the sort of thing usually reserved for toddlers titles, ie designed to be chewed by a teething tyke, so one could be forgiven for thinking this is a younger kid’s title. However, inside JAKe’s fun illustrations which depict BB-8 helping Chewbacca to toast some marshmallows or helping Poe to fix his X-Wing can be enjoyed by all ages.

How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communication Manual by I.M Rollin, illustrations by JAKe (Chronicle Books) © & ™ 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd.

JAKe has an angular, almost graffiti cartoon style and suits this novelty work entirely. The illustrations vibrantly pop off the page and are frankly a joy.

There is also a handy alphabet guide to the Star Wars galaxy’s key written language Aurebesh, which should make things easier when you need to translate some stolen Death Star plans and C3PO isn’t around to interpret for you. The speaker is, of course, great fun but also necessitates the whole back page of the book being taken up with instructions on how to replace the coin battery which is a shame, as up to that point, everything else in the book is really quite fun.

How To Speak Astromech With BB-8: A Communication Manual by I.M Rollin, illustrations by JAKe (Chronicle Books) © & ™ 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd.

This is a fun gift for a ‘Star Wars’ fan and a great reminder of what made BB-8 a fun character. You may not learn anything particularly new about the ‘Star Wars’ universe, but you will have fun making squelchy electronic noises to annoy the family with.

John Rivers

December 2020

(pub: Chronicle Books, 2020. 24 page illustrated A5 hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK), $16.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-79720-177-1)

check out website: www.chroniclebooks.com

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