STAR WARS EPIC YARNS: A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI
So, here we have three cute, chunky items published by Lucas Books (that is Lucasfilms' own publishing branch and not the East Anglian independent book shop – good luck, John!), and they are quite unlike anything else in their catalogue to date.
Star Wars Epic Yarns are, simply, the three original Star Wars films as uniquely interpreted by British Columbian-bred twin brothers, Jack and Holman Wang. The Wang brothers bill themselves, modestly, as 'writers, illustrators, fiber (sic) artists, dads' but they also have, crucially, a bachelor degree in education and a professorship in English between them and it is this odd combination of self-taught skills and extensive formal learning that brought them to the public's eye when, around 2012, under the collective title of Cozy Classics, they decided to retell nine of the most iconic books of our time in the particular style of theirs that has earned them a number of accolades, not least of which has been the invitation, this year, to redesign Google's logo in celebration of the birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder – author of Little House on The Prairie.
Any parent will instantly recognise the chunky, square format and thick, cardboard page style of these books as belonging to those directed at preschool and primary-school aged children and so it is with this trilogy. As with the Cozy Classics that went before them – Brothers Wang have designed these books as educational tools for children employing there, by now, familiar '12-word-primer' concept; that is - the entire story told, chronologically, with just twelve words and twelve accompanying pictures; and here we come to the crux of the matter, that is, the illustrations themselves. Quite how Jack 'n' Holman, with their apparent abundance of responsibilities and commitments, have found time to teach themselves the finer nuances of Needle-Felt-Sculpting remains an enduring mystery but, apparently, they have and to great effect. The illustrations herein are exquisite reproductions of scenes from the beloved movies; with meticulously rendered backgrounds and tenderly sculpted characters, they evoke the naïvety and optimism that must have prevailed during the making of these ground-breaking sci-fi films.
Whether or not these books will serve their grandiose purpose as educational tools for our future generation remains something of a moot point since they will seldom be bought for that purpose. But as bookshelf condiments and trivial genre accompaniments and at their reasonable price any fan of George Lucas' most celebrated work should include these books in their collections.
INFO: AUTHORS: HOLMAN WANG, JACK WANG / PUBLISHER: CHRONICLE BOOKS, LUCAS BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW