The latest ‘friend’ to help kids overcome their fears of monsters and things that go-bump-in-the-night is a slightly unlikely candidate: Darth Vader. A new children’s picture book called Are You Scared, Darth Vader? puts the famous Star Wars baddie in the position of a slayer of imaginary monsters.
One thing that’s so tricky about Star Wars is that despite being really popular with families, the movies send troubling messages about fathers and their children, to say nothing of the depictions of galactic genocide. At the center of all of this, the anti-hero Darth Vader is immensely popular with kids and adults partially for the way he looks, and partially for the variety of things he represents. Which is why he’s actually a perfect chipper for childhood fears. And in this new book, Vader will help kids conquer those fears.
Written and illustrated by Adam Rex, Are You Scared, Darth Vader? follows a hilarious and brilliant pattern. Darth Vader is presented with something scary and is asked if he is scared. Is Vader scared of spiders? Black cats? Public speaking? Ghosts? Obviously, the answer to all of these things is a hard “no.” Speaking to io9, author Adam Rex said: “The biggest theme that emerged as I worked on the book is that Darth Vader is an intimidating villain, but he’s your intimidating villain.”
Basically, because children love Darth Vader, the notion that he could help kids overcome their fears is so perfect, it’s shocking it hasn’t been done before.
Because if the badest dad in the galaxy isn’t afraid of all of these things, then why should you be?
–Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex is out now in bookstores and on Amazon. And, if you’re looking for another brilliantly hilarious picture book illustrated by Adam Rex, check out Guess Again! (It’s not what you think.)