Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ray's Reviews: Vader's Little Princess and Human Interest Stuff by Terhune

It's summertime - and the reading is easy. Take a break and escape reality with a pair of unusual and innovative books.

"Vader's Little Princess", written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, $14.95), is the hilarious sequel to his smash 2012 best-seller, "Darth Vader and Son."

It's a funny book, filled with carefully crafted color cartoons showcasing Vader as you've never imagined him.

It's tough not to giggle as you follow Vader through his struggles to raise his young daughter Leia, as she grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager.

If you thought he had problems trying to destroy the heroic Rebel Alliance, just imagine him dealing with a young Leia, who has invited him to an unusual tea party. There are many more memorable and enjoyable images, such as Vader giving Leia instructions on how to brush her teeth or how to steer in outer space.

He's got problems with what she's wearing and with the intentions of her boyfriends. Die-hard fans will recognize many scenes from the movies.They're not likely to have given thought about Vader, Leia, and a host of other familiar characters attending a ballet performance.

"Vader's Little Princess" is an imaginative book that you won't want to miss - a useful and pleasant way to easily escape reality.

"Human Interest Stuff", by Albert Payson Terhune (Wisconsin Writer's Association Press, $4.00), is an adaptation by Rodney Schroeter featuring the artwork of Brighton illustrator William Messner-Loebs. It's a comic book, but it is presented in a magazine format, similar to TIME, with color covers and a black-and-white interior.

While it's 32 pages long, only the first part of the book is styled like a short graphic novel. The rest of the book offers the text of the original story by Terhune, which appeared in 1936 in "The Critter and Other Tales", an anthology of dog stories.

The superb adaptation by Schroeter really makes the enjoyable tale flow smoothly. The first scene opens with a young reporter who's hot to write an eye-opening story about a man and his protective dog.

The story is told from different viewpoints, including flashbacks. Dilemmas abound; Messner-Loeb's excellent and distinctive artwork captures the time period and attitudes perfectly in a style reminiscent of the masterful Will Eisner.

More information on "Human Interest Stuffcan be obtained at

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find books by great local authors (and more!)
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan
This review was published by the Lansing State Journal on June 9, 2013.

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