Darth Vader and Friends takes Jeffrey Brown’s beloved interpretation of the Star Wars universe in another direction. If you’ve enjoyed Jeffrey’s previous books featuring Darth Vader and his children, this one is less about Vader’s parenting troubles and more of a free form series of single page vignettes featuring Star Wars characters mostly as children. It is cute, sweet, and something each person in the family will enjoy reading.
Title: Darth Vader and Friends
Author: Jeffrey Brown
Age: 1-99 (or older)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: Humor, Star Wars, Children’s Book, Gift Book
Brown uses a mixture of different styles in creating his humor for this book. Sometimes he takes familiar phrases from the movies and creates funny bits from them like when Luke, Han, and Chewie are playing in a sandbox together. Han asks, “Do you think your sister likes me?” and Luke responds, “She says you’re imagining things.” Sometimes he takes everyday parenting dilemmas and turns them into Star Wars comedy as when Vader finds an empty chocolate bar wrapper. He confronts Luke and Leia and Leia points at Luke (even though she’s the one with chocolate covering her face). But more often than not, Brown simply creates comedy out of our familiarity with the movies.
If you’re a stickler for continuity, this isn’t the book for you. The kids’ ages are not consistent with the timeline in the movies. Sometimes the kids are with Vader, sometimes with the Rebels. The kids know each other far before they ever did in the films. But that’s not the point of the book. The point is to make you smile. It’s to bring a little bit of laughter into your life. And it’s about exploring the idea of friendship in the Star Wars universe. Originally, this was going to be a book all about the adventures of R2 and C3PO, but the folks at Chronicle encouraged Jeffrey to include other characters and it turned into the book that’s on the shelves today.
If you’re a fan of his other books in the Vader series, you’ll find plenty to enjoy, but just know ahead of time that it’s decidedly different than the first two. It will be interesting to see where Jeffrey takes the series from here on out. In the meantime, explore the fun and frolic in Darth Vader and Friends and put a smile on your face.