Darth Vader and Son
Some ideas are so wonderful that you have to stop and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Then there are some ideas which are so simple that you stop and say, “I could have done that!” Darth Vader and Son is a delightful mixture of both.
Acclaimed Chicago-based author Jeffrey Brown was definitely onto something when he wrote the children’s book for adults, Darth Vader and Son...and he didn’t even need to use the Jedi mind trick on readers to get them to fall in love. At first glance, the idea appears simplistic. The book is an inside look into what the father-son relationship might have been like if Darth Vader had actually been in charge of parenting Luke, instead of young Skywalker being whisked away and hidden from Vader's knowledge.
The dark one as an active father figure is not so far-fetched
The artwork is a combination of comic book and children’s book and the text is limited on each page, with the picture telling most of the story. Yet the 64 pages of this book are so fantastically fun that it’s hard not to read the book in one sitting, and then read it over and over again. In fact reading the first few lines on the opening page (“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….. Episode Three and a half”) lets the reader know immediately that they are in for a treat. The wit behind the idea shines through as the reader quickly turns each page. While most pages represent a funny scene from the imagined life of father and son, some pages offer a heartfelt “awww” moment. The author incorporates most characters from Star Wars, including Han Solo, Princess Leia, Greedo, Boba Fett and even Jar Jar Binks, among others. Before you get too upset at the mere mention of his name, rest assured that readers will even be happy to see good ol’ Jar Jar.
The gorgeous artwork and laugh-out-loud scenes aside, the beauty behind this book is that one doesn’t need to have a full working, encyclopedia knowledge of all Star Wars movies and trivia to enjoy the book, unlike a lot of Star Wars humor. Even if the reader has only seen Episode IV, V and VI, they will still find the story wonderful in itself. The book can also be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
It is unusual to think of Darth Vader, perhaps one of the greatest villains ever created, in an active and loving father role, faced with the same challenges that other parents are faced. After all, this is the character that can choke another man just by squeezing his index finger and thumb together. Brown, however, makes this idea not just possible but plausible. The father-son relationship comes to life as it jumps off the pages in whimsical humor and emotion. Even if Star Wars isn’t your number one pick for sci-fi fun, I definitely recommend picking this one up and keeping it out on display to share with others.
The sequel to this title, Vader’s Little Princess was released on April 23, 2013. This book, of course, focuses on what Vader’s relationship with young Princess Leia might have been like. The book is just as fantastic as Darth Vader and Son.
Other titles by Brown include: Clumsy, Cats Are Weird and More Observations, and Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoir.
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