Review: Sabine: My Rebels Sketchbook

Here at Tosche Station, we don’t dive into the Star Wars children’s books very often but Sabine: My Rebel Sketchbook by Dan Wallace and Annie Stoll is just so awesome that we had to talk about it here. Just like it says on the label, Sabine’s Sketchbook is written like it’s Sabine’s latest sketchbook (the seventh this year!) and is filled with her artwork, thoughts, and random notes. Given that this is a children’s book, there’s much more writing and explaining that I would actually expect to see in the dozens of sketchbooks that Sabine undoubtedly has stashed in her cabin but that does nothing to detract from how thoroughly enjoyable this book is for all Rebels fans.

Like a sketchbook would, the book clearly takes place over a period of time. Towards the start, Sabine details everyone’s call signs but only goes up to Spectre 5. As the book progresses, they eventually add Ezra to their little crew and it covers the timeframe for all the episodes from the first half of Season One. While the book is intended for kids, adult fans of Rebels will undoubtedly get a kick out of reading it too. Throughout the book are tons of little tidbits about the crew of the Ghost and about Sabine herself. I feel like this book actually gave us more insight into who Sabine is as a person than eleven episodes of the television show which is a nice feather in the book’s hat. Expanded Universe fans will also enjoy spotting all the little bits that find their way back into canon status thanks to this book. (I won’t spoil the surprises for you.)

Much like a comic book, Sabine’s Sketchbook is a collaborative effort between Dan Wallace and Annie Stoll. I found myself lingering on each page so I could catch every last detail that Stoll worked into each page. Her use of different styles is perfect for an experimental artist like Sabine and the varying “completeness” level of each piece (some are just pencil sketches while others are finished works) gives a feel of authenticity to the book. Honestly everything about the artwork in the book is perfect from the graffiti to the quick sketches to the more completed and colorful works. It’s clear that Stoll really gets Sabine and I can’t imagine another artist working on this project. Honestly, everything about this book just confirms that Sabine Wren is a great character to have in the Star Wars universe: a woman of color who unabashedly loves the arts and explosions and who can hold her own.

The only thing that I wasn’t terribly fond of in the book was the number of “official artwork” pieces that were included on the pages. I’m not sure if the promo shots or the episode screenshots were more jarring. Annie Stoll’s art is so good and perfect for Sabine that the book didn’t really need them. This is a relatively minor issue but I hope that if they make a second Sketchbook (and oh boy do I hope they will!) that they’ll use far less of it and more of Stoll’s work.

I give Sabine: My Rebels Sketchbook two thumbs up and strong recommendation to pick up whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Thank you to Studio Fun for providing us with a copy of the book for review purposes.