Goodnight, Darth Vader, by Jeffrey Brown
In this entertaining book we see a side of Darth Vader that one does not see in the Star Wars movies, namely trying to get his young children to sleep. While it is clear that the chronology of this particular guide is a little off, it is rather telling that this particular book is still around even after the Disney purchase of Star Wars and the fact that a great deal of the Star Wars universe is not officially canon. Even so, it does appear as if Clone Wars is still considered Canon, as this particular book does contain at least some references to characters (like Ahsoka the Padawan) who are found there but who may not be familiar to those who are just familiar with the live-action Star Wars movies and not the other material in the universe. Be that as it may, this book is precisely the sort of book that one can imagine a parent fond of Stars Wars would use to read to children who demand a bedtime story so that they will contentedly rest (and hopefully sleep) in bed, and as such it works on a meta level as well as within the text.
The book itself consists of animated drawings associating a poem read by Darth Vader to his young twins Luke and Leia who are a bit reluctant to go to bed on the Death Star, where they are assumed to live. In the course of the poetry, read in “Twas The Night Before Christmas” style couplets, we see annoyed droids, a clumsy Jar Jar Binks (little known Sith lord), see Dexter’s Diner shut down, witness a resting Sebulba the racer, watch Darth Maul pace, see an exhausted Queen Amidala rest after socializing, watch battle droids say goodnight to each other, watch Ahsoka drift off to sleep after a day of destruction, see wookies cuddle in trees together, watch General Grievous’ efficient bedtime routine, see sleeping creatures in the arena, show a sleeping Jocasta after the archives are closed, watch snoring raiders and banthas, see Ben take a nap in the Death Star, watch arguing jawas, see Han and Chewie prevented from sleeping because of being in a noisy bar, see the Fetts quarrel, watch the peaceful dreams of Lando and Lobot, see the sleeping Millennium Falcon, and so on and so forth, until Darth falls asleep and his children follow.
All things considered, this book is not meant to be profound literature. It aims at a modest target, providing humorous rhymes and entertaining pictures that can be used to tell stories to pre-readers or those who are just barely literate but who are being encouraged to develop a love of Star Wars by their parents. And whether or not all of the characters in this story are considered canon or not at this point, the book is an enjoyable one and may prompt some questions as to who these characters are and what is their place in the world of Star Wars, a place that will involve the first two trilogies as well as the Clone Wars and some other supplementary material (perhaps even the Solo film). Having a modest target to aim at, the book achieves its goal of being a good bedtime story that happens to also be about going to sleep, showing that even young heroes like the future Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia need their sleep just as much as everyone else does. And in a world of fast-paced living that makes it hard to find peace and when dealing with children who probably do not think that sleep is a good thing, this book is a worthwhile one.