Book Review: Star Wars – I Am a Padawan by Ashley Eckstein

Published: April 7th, 2020 (US); April 8th, 2020 (UK)
Author: Ashley Eckstein
Cover Artist: Shane Clester
Publisher: Golden Books
Formats: Hardback (24 pages)
Timeline: 33 BBY – 19BBY

The synopsis;

Meet Ahsoka Tano, a brave Jedi-in-training – also known as a Padawan – in this Star Wars Little Golden Book written by Ashley Eckstein!

This Little Golden Book follows the journey of Ahsoka Tano, a brave Padawan from the epic Star Wars space saga, as she learns the mysterious ways of the Force from her Jedi teachers Anakin Skywalker, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Written by Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series, this beautifully-illustrated book is perfect for Star Wars – and Little Golden Book – fans of all ages!

The review;

In her first children’s novel, I Am A Padawan, Ashley Eckstein explores Ahsoka Tano’s journey throughout The Clone Wars and the many lessons the feisty togruta learned along the way. Who better to write a story about Ahsoka than Eckstein herself, the actress who not only voices but embodies the character? Her love for the character she portrays really comes across in this Little Golden Book, which is a true lesson for younglings in the ways and beliefs of the Force.

“What would Ahsoka do?” This is a question Ashley Eckstein has admitted to asking herself, as she believes Ahsoka would always do the right thing even in tricky situations. It also feels like this question is how Eckstein approached writing I Am A Padawan, because each page is a problem, or foe, or situation, in which Ahsoka has to make decisions in what way she will react. This not only makes I Am a Padawan a fun adventure story for younglings, but each page also has a moral lesson that is meant to make even a young reader stop and think.

The story-arc of the book encompasses the first five seasons of The Clone Wars, starting from the very beginning when a tiny Ahsoka is found by Jedi Master Plo Koon, to when she makes the difficult decision to leave the Jedi Order. Surprisingly for a children’s novel, even the darker parts of Ahsoka’s journey are included, yet Eckstein has written them in a balanced way so that they are not upsetting and inspire hope or self-belief instead.

It is also clear that Eckstein did a lot of research binge-watching before writing I Am A Padawan. This can be seen by some of the more unusual choices in The Clone Wars episodes represented, which add great variety to the overall story. There’s “A War on Two Fronts”  where Ahsoka helps to train rebels on Onderon, along with “Lightsaber Lost”  in which the Padawan learns the importance of patience (something her master, Anakin Skywalker never did).

Alone the story is definitely engaging but combined with Clester’s artwork it’s fantastic. He wonderfully depicts Ahsoka’s growth, and her emotions are easy to read just from the pictures. One minor point though is that both of Ahsoka’s lightsabers are the same length in these illustrations, when one should be a shorter shoto blade. Young readers won’t notice, but adult fans reading to their children just might. Another art highlight are the battle droids running away in pure terror from the Jedi, that Clester has drawn hilariously, which feels like something out of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. The final piece of all is also stunning, showing Ahsoka standing proud with a little Loth cat at her feet possibly signifying the next step of her adventures with the Ghost crew in Rebels.

For a book that Ashley Eckstein wrote in one afternoon, I Am a Padawan is an inspiring little read that will delight and teach young readers at the same time. With Ahsoka’s journey in The Clone Wars having only recently come to a conclusion, and with a lot of wonderful material in Star Wars Rebels, who knows, maybe Ashley Eckstein might create a sequel…

Availability;

Star Wars: I Am a Padawan was published April 7, 2020 in the US and April 8, 2020 in the UK. It is available in hardback from good bookstores and through online retailers including Amazon in the UK and US with an RRP of £5.99.

Kat Rees-Jauke
It was LEGO that got Kat into Star Wars in 2015. After spontaneously buying the LEGO 10188 Death Star set, she finally decided to watch the Original Trilogy and from then on was completely absorbed into a galaxy far, far away. On a very early December morning, Kat got to see her first Star Wars film in the cinema and The Force Awakens still holds a special place in her heart. With this new era of content also came her favourite character – Kylo Ren.