Longtime readers of this blog know how much we love his best-selling Origami Yoda series of books. He has also written a young reader adaption of Return of the Jedi entitled Beware the Power of the Dark Side! We even had a chance to talk to him on our podcast a few years back.
Fear not! Despite the creepy title, fans of Angelberger's humour will not be disappointed with the The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear!, and his love of the entire Star Wars galaxy shines here too.
Set between the events of the movies Solo and Rogue One, this 261-page middle-grade novel from Disney/Lucasfilm Press sends the beloved wookiee on a high-paying job that seems to good to be true. Turns out it's all a trick to accomplish a very dangerous mission for powerful, dishonest people.
|Very dangerous cargo - TOOKAS!|
|Whatever you call it, stay away!|
Everyone seems to have a hidden agenda here, except for the mighty Chewbacca of course, and even those who seem to be working together have secret plans they hide from the team.
While this is really Chewbacca's story, most of the laughs come from the droid K-2SO with his deadpan commentary and inability (or unwillingness) to comprehend the behaviour of living things. Although Han Solo isn't the star here, fans will enjoy his part in the story and Rogue One's Cassian Andor is also key to this tale.
Many authors of Star Wars books have faced the challenge of how to reproduce Chewbacca's "talking" on a written page. Wookiee-speak, or "Shyriiwook", is very difficult to spell for readers! This is probably the main reason there have been very few books focusing on the beloved character over the past 40 years!
Angelberger has found a fun approach, making the narrator a central figure who speaks directly to the reader. He not only translates Chewie's many different growls and roars but also sneakily shares story details along the way. At times the reader knows more, sometimes much more, than the characters which helps build the excitement as they are about to get themselves in further trouble!
Fans of the recent Adventures in Wild Space series, or the classic Galaxy of Fear novels from the 1990's, will certainly appreciate the creepy chills and thrills hiding around every corner, or lurking in the next tree. The young team-member Mayv has to conquer terrors along the way that don't frighten wookiees (dangerous heights) or droids (hungry snarlers) and complete the mission for her own reasons.
The book contains a few exciting two-tone illustrations by Andie Tong, usually depicting the heroes of the story in escalating peril! The images leave the reader wishing there were just a couple of more pictures to enjoy along the way.
For those looking for connections to the Solo movie (this book was released in conjunction with the movie) the terrifying "snarlers" appear to be the same creatures referred to as Corellian Hounds, introduced onscreen in the early scenes in Solo.
If you're looking for a fun, exciting, funny, and occasionally scary adventure, The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear! is certainly the book for you!
(Publisher's recommendation: Ages 8-12)
|Also by Tom Angleberger|
|"At last we have the Mighty Chewbacca!" - Jabba the Hutt|