BOOK REVIEW: STAR WARS: THE ADVENTURES OF LUKE SKYWALKER, JEDI KNIGHT / AUTHOR: TONY DITERLIZZI / ARTIST: RALPH MCQUARRIE / PUBLISHER: DISNEY LUCASFILM PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
How do you take the original Star Wars trilogy, adapt it into a storybook for children, and still make it appealing to adults? Let’s face it, usually this kind of book would come with a simplified version of the films’ story and a few stills from the film that depict the action being described, and while they make for a fun read for kids, there is usually very little in there for the adults to get any real enjoyment out of.
In an attempt to address this issue, Egmont have replaced the stills with the Star Wars concept art by Ralph McQuarrie and beautifully presented it in this slim – but stunning – hardback book. Admittedly, the main draw of this book for most fans will be the art, and it is packed with McQuarrie’s art; his work looks stunning on the page and is only really let down by a few images being quite small, when I personally would have liked to have seen them in their full-page glory. That said though, there are other books on McQuarrie’s art that I can get to get my fix of that, so to criticise it for shrinking some of the images down to fit them into a children’s book seems a little redundant. This book is, after all, a storybook for children.
As an adult Star Wars fan, you may find the simplicity of the storytelling a little frustrating and dull at times. But for children, it’s a perfectly well-executed way of getting the basic story of the Star Wars trilogy across in much the same way you would probably recount the tale of Star Wars to your friends in the school playground when you were a child.
I read it at bedtime to my 5 year old son (who has never seen the Star Wars films) and he was enthralled by the story and the art. And that’s where the book really succeeds; in introducing a new audience to the story of Star Wars in a way that both entertains and engages.
If you’re looking for a book on McQuarrie’s art, this is a nice, affordable book if you’re just a casual buyer, but you may want to think about looking into some of the books that are dedicated just to his work instead. If you’re looking for a bedtime read for your kids that will both introduce them to the world of Star Wars and offer up some nice eye-candy for yourself, then you probably won’t do much better than this.
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