I figured Jeffrey Brown had exhausted the Star Wars novelty with his boy- and girl-themed books for children and their Star Wars-loving parents.
If you haven’t already seen them, fallen in love with them, and given them as gifts to any and all of your friends with young children, Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess present an alternate universe in which Luke and Leia grow up with their dark side-hugging dad.
Luke and Leia see and treat Vader not as an evil, chokehold-dishing-out doer to be feared, but as their father—a guy who’s increasingly being worn down, wearied, and bemusingly befuddled as he tries to navigate the challenges of parenting.
The results are some fantastic scenarios that both reference the film while marrying the nods and winks with some situations all too recognisable to parents.
Brown’s back with Goodnight Darth Vader, proving I know nothing about novelty and that some concepts really have legs. But I should have expected as much from Brown and his stellar publisher, Chronicle Books, which seems to have a knack of finding and publishing top-notch books.
Picking Goodnight Darth Vader up, I assumed it to be piggybacking off the Go the F*ck to Sleep book that took the interwebs, tired parents, and bemused people without kids by storm a year or two ago. But it’s not, weaving a rhythm and theme all of its own.
The book is ‘Episode Eight PM’ writ across the page in the iconic yellow running text that’s the hallmark of the films’ openings. Vader has commanded Luke and Leia to go to bed, but the knee-high twins have other ideas.
Meanwhile all the creatures and droids in the Star Wars universe are preparing for bed, and there are some fantastic good-night scenes and film nods. My favourites include the battle droids taking an interminably long time to say goodnight (‘Roger Roger’, ‘Roger Roger’). Meanwhile General Grievous, with his extra limbs, gets ready for bed four times faster than anyone else.
The Millennium Falcon is wished goodnight with the play on the adage with ‘Don’t let the space slug bite’, while the Ewoks determine it’s easiest to sleep ‘when the Empire’s been silenced with rocks’.
Goodnight Darth Vader is one for the collection for adults and kids alike, with the illustrations and text providing dual-level entertainment. Without giving my Christmas shopping plans away, it’s safe to say this book will be making an appearance in my gifts-to-give list for friends with young children.
I’ve also learnt my lesson not to assume this is going to be the last in the Vader-and-kids series, so I’m instead going to hope Brown and Chronicle Books continue to come through with Vader spoofs for future Christmases and birthdays…