Star Wars Science Adventures
Journey Across Planet X
by Jude Watson and K.D. Burkett
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
C-3PO, R2-D2, a young Rebel named Stuart Zissu, and a scientific research droid named Forbee-X make their way across a strange planet after crash landing there in the last book. Their mission is to make it to a Rebel camp before they leave the planet to flee from Imperials. They only have 48 hours to make it there. Unfortunately, the planet goes through 4 seasons every 24 hours. So the droids and the boy must face the strange environment, unpredictable weather, and odd creatures along the way. As they face each obstacle, Forbee-X points out scientific principles on weather, lightning, tornados, friction, seasons, the food chain, and hot air ballooning. They eventually find the Rebel camp, and it leads directly into the next book.
Again, this is a cool, fun way for kids to learn basic scientific principles. However, it seems to be a fine line between being too basic or being too detailed. I think they've maintained that balance, though I don't know for sure. In any case, the little experiments at the end are a nice supplement to drive home the ideas being taught. The author also does a nice job explaining that a planet like they describe in this book could not exist because it would be too close to the sun if it went through 4 earth-like seasons in 24 hours. They explain it would be more like Venus which is extremely harsh. In any case, C-3PO and R2 seem in character, which is good. And 3-PO even gets to use his translation skills.
In the last book, there was a printing error and two pages were not printed. In this book, the ink was not dark enough on half a dozen pages. Normally I'd write that off as just a problem with my copy, but the fact it happened in two Scholastic books I picked up at random makes me think they need to get their printers in order. The cover also didn't strike me as impressive, though it is eye catching. I guess not "Star Warsy" enough. (I guess they wanted to get away from that, though, to get teachers and parents to think it's more educational. Dunno.) I think they could have gotten more into weather topics like how snow forms, how rain forms, or other things. The lessons kind of jumped around.
Flying lizards attacking flying birds and chewing them up. Chicken is finger lickin' good! (Plug for Episode I sponsor KFC.)