Whatever Happened to BB-8? (book review)

BB-8 runs off into the night…but then what?

After his friend Poe tells the little droid to run and deliver the information stored in his data banks to the Resistance we don’t see him again until Rey finds him.  But what happened to him in the meantime?  Was he just rolling around in the deserts of Jakku the whole time?  Turns out the answer was “no.”  BB-8 was off on his own adventure!

The cover of the just released book “BB-8 On The Run” from Disney-Lucasfilm Press

Title: BB-8 On The Run
Author: Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Matt Myers
Cost: $17.99
Publisher: Disney-Lucasfilm Press
Ages: 6-8
Genre: Children’s Books

Drew Daywalt gives us a story that fits this little, heroic droid.  A story about compassion, kindness, and helping others it is sure to resonate with parents and children alike.  As BB-8 tries to carry out the directive Poe gives him, he ends up encountering a droid in need of help, a family in need of food, and a happabore in need of medical attention (think of a giant hippo/rhino/elephant).  BB-8 has to weight the importance of getting the important information about Luke Skywalker to Leia and the members of the resistance with helping those in need.  The result is a sweet story set in the Star Wars universe – and it fills in some nagging questions about BB-8’s journey and his meet-up with Teedo.

BB-8 makes a new friend in his adventures

Matt Myers does an interesting job illustrating the book.   The colors are bright, sharp, and provide great contrast.  He captures the heart of the story well with his art.  The style is a bit harsh in look.  It’s the only way to describe the hard brushstrokes Matt uses in his paintings.  They remind me of what Van Gogh might have done if he were illustrating a Star Wars book.

What happened to BB-8 from the time he left Poe to the moment he met Rey? Find out in this new book

Overall the story is good.  I was a little put off by the simplistic “You do good things and good things will come back to you” message.  While I believe it generally to be true, I hate setting up kids for disappointment later in life.  There’s no rhyme or reason to explain people who tease you, bully you, or hurt you when you try to live by this code.  It’s a little bit too transactional of a philosophy for me.  But I do like the basic message and theme of helping others and I liked how BB-8 struggled not only with what was the right choice but why things weren’t working out better for him.  Drew put a lot of sophistication into a simple story and it’s hard to put philosophical nuance into a kids’ book.

If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you’ll love how Drew and Matt add to the history of the Star Wars universe.  I don’t know if picture books are considered canon, but this one fits in nicely and is a fun story with a good message for young ones.  Maybe if we all did this, the world would be a better place.

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