'Star Wars' for Preschoolers: Treat or Terrible Tease?

Children learning to use the fork will soon be exposed to a greater tool: The Force. Word is out that George Lucas is adapting Star Wars for preschoolers and kindergartners.

The animated TV series will allegedly be based on a line of Star Wars toys called "Star Wars: Galactic Heroes". The very un-Jedi working title is "Squishies," but I don't think it'lll stick. (Then again, both Jake Lloyd's acting and the annoying Jar-Jar Binks got Lucas' green light, so anything's possible.)

Some will criticize Lucas' latest foray as a crass commercial move. Others will remind these nay-sayers that this is Hollywood, not Alderaan.  My own children enjoyed Star Wars early-reader books when they were little, and Clone Wars now. Why should little kids have to wait?

The only issue is exactly what you're teasing children with. "Squishies" are one thing, but Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith was rated PG-13 -- and with good reason. Any kid hooked on Star Wars will undoubtedly want more and more, even if he's not ready. And some industries oblige: Revenge of the Sith Halloween costumes are being marketed to kids way younger than 13.

Who bears the burden of making sure children traveling to galaxies far, far away do so at a very, very appropriate pace? That Force is in your hands -- and don't count on help from Obi-Wan.

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