- BB-8 On the Run
- written by Drew Daywalt
- illustrated by Matt Myers
- published by Disney-Lucasfilm Press (2017)
- Roar Score: 5/5
The job of most Star Wars books is twofold. First, they have to tell a compelling and interesting story. Second, they have to fill in some untold backstory or relate events that happened off screen for rabid fans who simply need to know everything.
The newest original picture book from the galaxy far, far away checks both boxes. BB-8 On the Run is a charming book with an important message for kids, and it also fills in a pretty major story hole from The Force Awakens.
“It’s easy, buddy. You do good things, and good things will come back to you.”
Were you curious about what happened to BB-8 between these two scenes?
Where did he go after Poe’s X-Wing blew up? How did he get captured by Teedo (that little guy with the big stick and even bigger ride)? Even if you didn’t ask yourself these questions, BB-8 On the Run is here to tell you. Turns out BB-8 had a number of adventures and made quite a few new friends on Jakku before meeting Rey.
After getting separated from Poe, BB-8 faces some inner turmoil as he must decide whether he should wait for Poe or carry on his mission and deliver the map he’s carrying to the Resistance. He’s scared and alone, but he forges ahead.
Along the way, he meets a new droid friend, tries to escape the planet, altruistically helps numerous Jakku residents, and gets captures by Teedo . . . twice. None of this should come as a surprise since BB-8 is first and foremost a hero. Of COURSE he’s going to help a starving family and a wounded animal. To think otherwise would be Star Wars blasphemy.
Drew Daywalt (author of the adorable The Day the Crayons Quit and its sequel) and Matt Myers bring their A game to this book. Daywalt not only gives us an adorable story about everyone’s favorite droid, he also impresses on kids the importance of empathy and helping others in need.
On top of that, tuned-in Star Wars fans will be left with a LOT to chew on in the perennial “Are droids self-aware (and thus alive)?” debate.
Myers’s art is nothing short of cinematic and gorgeous. The illustrations leap off the page, and you can practically see BB-8 speeding across the landscape. Plus, I now super want to see a book starring this adorable family.
My only complaint is that the book stinks. Like, literally. The paper or ink (or something) used in production really smells bad, and I usually adore the smell of new books. Hopefully, it’s a smell that will fade, because BB-8 On the Run is one we’ll be reading many times.
(Disclosure: Disney-Lucasfilm Press provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)