Darth Vader may be a Sith Lord and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet. But even he feels like a helpless battle droid when it’s time to put the kids to bed.
Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown is a fanciful bedtime book that will delight young fans of the Star Wars saga. It imagines Vader as a yawning, exhausted dad. All he wants is for his children to understand “the power of sleep.”
But Luke and Leia have more energy than a lightsaber. The restless young twins would rather be rowdy than resting.
Written by a lifelong Star Wars buff, the book is a follow-up to the bestsellers Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess. Brown’s comic strip drawings explore the diverse people and places in “a galaxy far, far away.”
Kids who watch the Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network will see familiar faces such as Yoda and Ahsoka the Padawan. But only the most avid young fans will recognize more obscure creatures such as the sarlacc or dianoga.
Yet Brown’s whimsical bedtime scenes will keep children giggling with each page turn. Bumbling Jar Jar Binks. Snoring banthas. Arguing Jawas. Pacing Darth Maul.
They all get ready for bed in their own way – and at their own speed. General Grievous uses his four arms to zip through his bedtime routine.
Some of Brown’s drawings also are surprisingly serene. Wookiees sleeping high up in the trees. Lando Calrissian and Lobot peacefully dreaming in Cloud City. Even the Death Star settles down for the night.
Goodnight Darth Vader doesn’t quite live up to its full potential. The strongest scenes show Vader – and bounty hunter Jango Fett – struggling with the age-old parenting problem of bedtime resistance.
It would have been fun to see Brown further explore the universality of that challenge using these two powerful parents. Instead he follows a more traditional bedtime book format. At times the structure and rhyme feel too rigid for his comic style and silly sense of humor.
But Star Wars fans are sure to be pleased with Brown’s bedtime story. His playful drawings will amuse both Jedi parents and their younglings. Join Vader on the dark side of day, and he “will complete your bedtime.”