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Top Picture Books for Adults - Part Two

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published April 19th 2017
Picture books for adults can be rude, quirky, serious or fun
You have to fucking eat
Dinner time can be so frustrating when you have a little one

4. Title: You Have To Fu*king Eat
Author: Written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Owen Brozman
Published: Akashic Books, 2014

You Have to Fu*king Eat is the sequel to Adam Mansbach's eyebrow raising and profanity-riddled first book Go the Fu*k to Sleep. Go the Fu*k to Sleep gained a lot of attention when it was released in 2011 because of it was styled like a traditional children's picture book but contained adult language and jokes. After the success of Go the Fu*k to Sleep, a lot of pressure was put on Mansbach to produce a sequel.

A follow-up book called You Have to Fu*king Eat was announced in 2014. Mansbach's publisher said the book would be about "the other great parental frustration: getting your little angel to eat something that even vaguely resembles a normal meal".

Mansbach explained in an interview to the Guardian in 2014 why he chose the topic of getting kids to eat for the new book:

"There's been plenty of enthusiasm for a sequel over the years (and plenty of suggestions) but I always said I'd only do one if it rang true to me – if I felt like I could imbue it with the same kind of honesty, love, and frustration as the first book. And eating is the other universal source of parental anxiety, a battle of wills just as pitched as sleep can be. From my own experiences and plenty of conversations with other parents, it seemed like a topic folks could use a laugh and a bit of catharsis about."

You have to fucking eat
You really do need the patience of a saint sometimes

You Have to Fu*king Eat is very much like Go the Fu*k to Sleep. It features colourful illustrations by Owen Brozman that would not be out of place in a typical children's book but the story is tailored for adults.

It features rhyming language just like Go the Fu*k to Sleep. The narrator is a frustrated adult who despairs that nothing they do can make their fussy child eat. The story ends with the parent wallowing in exhaustion and questioning if they are failing at parenting.

Nah, you're good. Kids can just be incredibly frustrating sometimes. It's a good thing we love them so much.

Darth Vader and son
Have you ever wondered what sort of dad Vader would have been if he'd raised his kids?

5. Title: Darth Vader and Son
Author: Written and Illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2012.

Jeffrey Brown is an American cartoonist whose notable works include Clumsy, Unlikely, Bighead, Incredible Change-Bots, A Matter of Life, Darth Vader and Son, Vader's Little Princess, Stars Wars: Jedi Academy, and Kids Are Weird. He was born in July, 1975 and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He moved to Chicago when he was 25 to study art at the School of Art Institute. His artwork has been exhibited in New York, Paris and Chicago. He self-published his first book, Clumsy, in 2002. It attracted a lot of attention from critics and comic book fans alike.

It was re-published in 2007 by Top Shelf Publications. An estimated 20,000 copies of it have been printed since then. James Kochalka, an American comic book artist and writer, was so impressed with Brown's debut work he called it his "favourite graphic novel ever"

Jeffry Brown got the idea to write about Star Wars characters after he was asked by Google to do some sketches for their Father's Day homepage logo. One idea that was tossed around was to do something involving Luke Skywalker and Vader.

Brown thought it would be fun to show Luke as a four-year-old and Vader as a frustrated Dad struggling to balance being a Dad and a Sith Lord at the same time. Google ended up passing on his idea. Brown thought it had merit so he decided to see if he could turn it into a book. It took nearly a year for him to get permission from Lucas Films to use the concept. He didn't want to make the book a parody because he wanted to use a lot of Vader's and Luke's lines from the movies.

Darth Vader and son
Jeffrey Brown does a great job of making Vader a little less scary in this book

Darth Vader and Son is a small delightful book that won't have you laughing out loud, but if you are a Star Wars fan or a parent you will be smiling at some of the situations Vader and his son get in. Vader is a doting dad but is also still evil.

In one scene he clenches a fist and utters that famous line "Together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!" and little Luke replies "And then can I have a treat?" Jeffrey Brown does a great job of making Vader a little less comic book villain and more down to Earth.

Darth Vader and Son is 64 pages long and features full page, coloured illustrations. It sells for between $15 and $20 dollars. It would make a great gift for a dorky dad who loves Star Wars.

Vader's Little Princess
How different would Star Wars had been if Vader had been just a regular dad?

6.Title: Vader's Little Princess
Author: Written and Illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2013.

After the success of Darth Vader and Son, it was inevitable that Jeffrey Brown would follow it up with a book about Vader and Leia. In this follow-up book, Brown asks the question "How would Vader cope raising a rebellious and feisty teenage daughter?"

In Vader's Little Princess, we see the Sith Lord raise his daughter from a little girl to a young adult. Just like in Vader and Son, the book features full page colour illustrations done lovingly in pencil.

What makes Vader the Dad such a fun character is when we see him try to balance being a Sith Lord with being a parent. He still wants to rule the galaxy and be evil but when he is around his kids, he is a total softie and that's what makes him so endearing.

Vader's Little Princess
Can Darth Vader balance being a Sith Lord and a dad at the same time?

Brown takes lines of dialogue from the films and uses them again to great comedic effect. In one scene Vader points a finger at an Imperial Officer and utters one of his more threatening lines from the movies: "You have failed me for the last time, Admiral." He raises a hand to force choke him. "Now you will–"

He stops half way through his sentence and looks down. Leia has come out from nowhere and is hugging his leg in total adoration. "Hi Daddy!" she cries. There are love hearts in her speech bubble. Vader looks embarrassed. He lowers his hand. He's lost his train of thought now. His face says it all. Crap.

The frustrations and joys Vader feels as a parent will appeal to anyone who has kids. It's fun to see him butt heads with the rebellious and rule breaking teenage Leia. It's obvious that Brown had a lot of fun adapting their relationship to fit this book. Jeffrey Brown won back-to-back Eisner Awards for his Star Wars books picking up one in 2013 for Darth Vader and Son and one in 2014 for Vader's Little Princess.

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Why? These are fun little books that would make great additions to any book collection
When: A good gag gift for parents with young kids or for yourself if you like funny, weird books
Where: Check out bookstores, comic book stores, or online retailers
Cost: You Have to F**king Eat by Adam Mansbach $15-20 Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown $15-20 Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown $11-18
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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu on 16/04/2017
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