Most of us have heard of, if not passionately participated in the never-ending debate over Star Wars being either a Fantasy or Science Fiction story. With such fantastic alien characters blending believable and unbelievable elements, the brainchild of George Lucas could also be a contender as a classic fable. And THIS seems to be the stance taken by Penguin Random House through their popular Children’s Books imprint Golden Books.
Some of my fondest childhood memories involved those hardback books with torn pages (as the youngest of six kids, this was the typical condition of hand-me-downs). The detailed illustrations would draw you in while the simplistic prose always provided some sort of enlightenment or life lesson. Maybe not the answer to everything, but in my childhood, it was enough.
So, now that the Star Wars franchise has found its way onto the Golden Books pages, does this mean the mystery behind the meaning of life, the universe, and everything just might finally be answered? This certainly seems to be the insinuation of Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Star Wars Little Golden Book by Geof Smith.
“Everything I need” may be a bit presumptuous, maybe even a delusion of grandeur, but there is quite a lot packed into 90 plus pages. From inspirational sonnets to humorous anecdotes that draws from familiar images of a galaxy far, far away, this is a feel-good book that even finds a few bright lights on the dark side. The illustration of the ever-mentoring Yoda on the cover (by Chris Kennett) epitomizes the books contents, simplistic insight with a moral code.
Okay Star Wars, what is the moral of the story? Page after page we are encouraged by the author to “Stay on target” or warned that “the dark side may seem… impressive.” But from a fandom standpoint, about a quarter of the way through, we are informed, “if you believe that anything is possible…there are distant worlds and amazing adventures awaiting you!” This holds true, regardless of your stance on the Star Wars is fantasy verses science fiction argument. Perhaps this really is “everything I need to know?”
The illustrations throughout Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Star Wars Little Golden Book are from the previously published individual works from Golden Books, each of which was inspired be the movies that make up the entire Star Wars saga, including the often-forgotten episodes I, II, and III. Accompanying Geof Smith’s text, readers will find the visual artwork of Alan Batson, Ethen Beavers, Ron Cohee, Chris Kennett, Heather Martinez, Caleb Meurer, Micky Rose, and Patrick Spaziante.
This book was gifted to me by my dear friends Pam and Tom for my birthday and will hold a special place in my collection. Suitable for both young and old and promising everything we need to know, what more would a Star Wars fan need?