Cute and Clever
One of my Japanese university students lent Jeffrey Brown's Darth Vader and Son (2012) to me, and I enjoyed it so I bought my own copy so I could re-read it and lend it to other students. They like it, and so do I.
The concept is clever, the execution cute. Jeffrey Brown illustrates snapshots of the dread Darth Vader in various father-son situations with little Luke Skywalker. The cover shows them eating ice cream cones together--and if Luke were to drop his on the ground, Darth Vader, earnest and loving father that he is, would surely give his to his son. Each page inside has similar episodes that probably most parents are familiar with, most given a Star Wars slant. The little sister Luke doesn't want is Princess Leia; the "bat" he holds when playing baseball with his dad is a light saber (with comical results); Luke's trick-or-treating costume is a storm trooper; Luke tries to use the Force to get the cookie jar; and so on. Someone who's seen the Star Wars movies (especially the original trilogy) would catch more of the references to the franchise, but anyone with even the vaguest idea that Darth Vader is a science fiction bad guy would get a kick out of seeing him as dutiful and patient father. Any kid who likes Star Wars would like the book, though I sense that the main target audience is adults. And any adult who's been a parent or imagined what it would be like to be a parent should enjoy the book, as when Luke catches Darth Vader off guard by asking him where babies come from.
It's a picture book comic book hybrid, with characters speaking in speech balloons. One neat touch is that while the words spoken by the characters are in lower case, except for the first letters in sentences etc., Darth Vader's words are ALL CAPS, to make his manner of speech and personality seem more commanding and formal. Brown's art is appealing, richly colored, simple to view, with enough interesting features to reward reviewing.
I have also read the second book in Brown's series, Vader's Little Princess (2013), focusing on Darth Vader's relationship with Leia, but found that one less fresh, appealing, and real. Darth Vader and Son I do recommend!