Solo: A Star Wars Story Golden Book by Barbara Winthrop

Solo: A Star Wars Story Golden Book written by Barbara Winthrop, illustrated by Pilot Studio
     This was such an adorable journey down memory lane with the crew of Solo: A Star Wars Story. As usual, the book was mostly summary and skimmed through parts I wish had gotten more time. But the illustrations were gorgeous and really served to tell the story in images.
     I think this book could have done with more pages to give things like the Kessel droid/slave revolution more than just half a sentence--"While Han stole the fuel, Chewbacca and L3-37 set some captured Wookiees and droids free." That part of the movie was so powerful and emotional that it deserves more than a passing thought. In contrast, we get an entire page for Han throwing the rock at Lady Proxima's window. I just felt like what was given "screen time" was a little lopsided in this rendition of the story.
     Another example of the narrative's brevity--it skips right over the fight between Chewie and Han in the pit on Mimban and goes straight to calling Chewie a "friendly Wookiee." We don't even get to see Han and Chewie escape off Mimban in the AT-hauler, instead we see Beckett's whole crew immediately sitting around the campfire. This loses the intensity and bonding that occurred between Han and Chewie when they first met--the whole life debt reason is essentially swept aside.
     I do like how on the first page of the book, Qi'ra is called Han's best friend. That I can definitely agree with! It doesn't give her and him any more of a relationship than they actually have--a topic that is hotly debated despite being very clear in the various novelizations.
     As usual, the dialogue is extremely sparse. The only two bits of dialogue in this book are Qi'ra shouting, "Go! Run!" to Han in the Coronet Spaceport, and Han saying, "I'm feeling pretty lucky tonight" before winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando. I don't know if I agree with the inclusion of these particular lines as they don't have much impact in the story itself, except perhaps the urgency of Qi'ra as she and Han get separated. I feel like a line from Dryden Vos would have done more to move the story along.
     I find it interesting that a children's book does not shy away from the use of words like "steal" and "rob" in a positive context. Obviously Han is the "good guy" and we are meant to root for him. But he is still ultimately a thief... But when it comes to death, things get a treatment of vagueness--"Val and Rio didn't make it through" and "Meanwhile, Han found Beckett. They both drew their blasters but Han was a little quicker." So while death is implied, you could almost interpret events differently.
     I have to say, my favorite part was the image of Enfys Nest unmasked (pictured above). The artists captured her youth and beauty so incredibly well in this cartoon format! I'm in awe.
     And the ending was quite wonderful, "The two friends smiled at the galaxy of possibilities that stretched out before them..." Cute!!
     So the purchase is worth it if you want a very short and abbreviated bed time story with lovely illustrations. I still feel like more choice dialogue and more detailed descriptions of certain events would have served this re-telling well. These Golden Books are a potential goldmine for storytelling but they never quite do Star Wars justice. Too much summary hurts the beautiful illustrations that by themselves really pack a punch.


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