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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

REVIEW: C-3PO Does Not Like Sand


I first got in contact with Disney Books after attending NYCC in 2017 because I was interested in reviewing their Star Wars and Marvel books. It’s been over a year and a half and so far they haven’t sent me much related to those two franchises, or anything particularly on brand with The Modern Gafa. But this? Well...It’s Star Wars.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of C-3PO Does Not Like Sand courtesy of Disney Books.
Opinions are my own.

C-3PO Does Not Like Sand is recommended for children ages six to eight. I guess it’s technically a comic. Every page is one large panel and beyond the opening line - you know what the opening line is - the only text is dialogue bubbles and sound effects. I guess you could call it a “first comic” but it honestly seems a bit simple for early elementary demographic.

The plot follows the three main Star Wars droids on a mission to collect “data” for General Leia. Unfortunately for C-3PO, their mission takes them to the desert planet of Tatooine. 3PO wants to get the mission over with as soon as possible, but R2 and BB-8 just want to play in the sand. That’s literally the whole story.

There’s physical humor and sight gags abound with the main conflict seemingly 3PO’s frustration with the childlike droids. The little droids are constantly distracted by shenanigans and make use of their tools - including their totally canon sand sculpture shovel and pail.

New readers are also spoonfed with portions upon portions of Star Wars canon. In no less than 65 pages/panels we get appearances by the twin suns of Tatooine, a ronto, podracing, a moisture farm thingy, a Jawa, that giant dragon bones thing, Jabba’s palace (as a sandcastle), and a bantha. Tusken Raiders get namedropped as well. It’s a real what’s what of the Star Wars universe.

I actually really like the artwork here. We’re stuck with three characters in one location for the entire story so it’s easy to get bored on the page, but the droids are given a squash-and-stretch aesthetic that really helps with the playful nature of the story. The desert is drawn in an almost childlike fashion with usually just a hill of sand on the bottom of each page and an endless void of cloudless blue sky taking up the rest of the scenery.

One has to wonder why this book exists. I don’t spend a lot of time in the teeny tiny children section of bookstores or libraries, but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I really hope it was created simply to deter search engines from populating with Attack of the Clones memes about how Anakin doesn’t like sand, similar to the theory that Frozen was titled to bury rumors that Walt Disney’s head was frozen in a vault under Disneyland. But that’s an oddly specific meme to try and bury.

Look I know I am far from the target audience of this book and my opinion means nothing here, but for something made for first graders that took me six minutes to read I surprisingly had a lot to say about it. It’s fun and goofy and kinda makes me want a reboot of the old Droids cartoon. Although I’m not sure how well this will hold it’s official target demographic’s attention. By eight kids are already diving into chapter books and “real” comics. This feels more like something an older Star Wars fan would read to their pre-school or kindergarten aged child, not something I would’ve read when I was seven or eight. It’s a short and cute way to get little kids into Star Wars and comics and who could possibly have a problem with that?

C-3PO Does Not Like Sand will be available on June 4. Click here to pre-order today.

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