Star Wars Science Adventures
Emergency in Escape Pod Four
by Jude Watson and K.D. Burkett
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
C-3PO, R2-D2, a Rebel, his son Stuart Zissu, and a scientific research droid named Forbee-X go on a diplomatic mission to a planet for the Rebel Alliance (soon after ANH). However, when the ship is captured by an Imperial Star Destroyer, the droids and the boy make a run for it in an escape pod. Unfortunately, R2-D2 gets damaged and nobody knows how to pilot the pod. By using an understanding of basic scientific principles, the droids and Stuart make their way through space, and asteroid field, and a landing on the planet. Through drawings on Forbee-X's screen, we learn about the First Law of Motion, centrifugal force, friction, aerodynamics, gravity, and more. Basically a short fun lesson in aerospace. The ship eventually lands on a strange planet, and the adventure immediately leads into the next book.
This is a cool way for kids to learn basic scientific principles. In the context of a Star Wars adventure, kids might be more likely to follow what's being presented. At the end of the book, further history is given on the principles and there are some fun experiments based on what was taught. On invoves centrifugal force and action figures (I would assume preferrably Star Wars action figures). What's particularly nice about this is that the characters remain true to their film versions, including a cameo by Han Solo, Luke, Chewbacca, and others. Even good ol Willard. I highly recommend this for kids.
A minor gripe, I suppose, but pages 45 and 46 were not printed in my book. Instead, pages 55 and 56 were in it. I don't know what happened, but I never got two pages of the story. I wonder if this happened in other copies. I would assume so. I also couldn't help but wonder if some of the principles presented were either too vague or not clear for kids. And some of the lessons were just kind of thrown in and it didn't flow well. Understandable, considering the purpose of the book, though. The cover also looks very nice, but it's lacking a certain "oomph" that I just can't place my finger on. Maybe I'm looking for more Star Wars type stuff on the front. Finally, you have to buy the second book in order to get the full story, and that's not made clear in any way on the cover.
If only physics had been this much fun in school! :)