About the Holiday
If Sci-Fi is your thing, today’s the day to celebrate! Today’s holiday is enjoyed by science fiction fans around the world, who take in movies, read favorite books, and attend special events and parties all with a sci-fi theme. Today’s date was chosen for the holiday to commemorate the birthday of master science-fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, who was born January 2, 1920. Channel your inner galactic traveler, today, and discover some entertainment that’s out of this world—like today’s book!
Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader?
By Adam Rex
Darth Vader, as we all know, is a pretty scary guy. But does anything scare him? “I do not get scared. No one has the power to frighten Lord Vader,” he says. But what about a…wolfman? The wolfman, with bulging yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and unkempt nails (and wearing torn pants and a ripped up plaid shirt) attacks! Darth Vader gives him a withering look and explains that he is “not afraid of a wolf” and “not afraid of a man” so he is “not afraid of a wolfman.” And if the wolfman should bite? Lord Vader’s armor will take care of that.
Perhaps a vampire is more frightening. But another biting creature? Nah…not scary. Next up to alarm Darth Vador is a little ghost: “BoooooWoo!” Fearlessly, Vader pokes it, wondering if it is the ghost of Yoda. The witch that appears next is proclaimed, “just an old woman” by the intrepid Vader, and when he is told that she could curse him, he retreats into a dark place to reveal, “I am already cursed.”
The narrator offers up a list of other possible triggers, but Darth Vader defects them all. Well, then, the narrator tells the kids, they can take off their spooky masks. Lord Vader is shocked. As the kids run to him, hang from his cape, and wield his light saber, Darth Vader tries to shake them off—but he’s still not scared. Then more kids join the fray. Darth Vader shakes his fist and rails, “I am most displeased.” “I am most displeased!” a little girl repeats.
At last, Lord Vader has had enough and begs for the children to be taken away. Mumbling that he’s no fun, the kids tromp off. But then Darth Vader is alerted to one more kid—the reader—“who’s about to close the book.” Shaken, Lord Vader pleads with the child not to turn the page and bargains with them, offering to share the power of the dark side. The pages are waning, and at last Darth Vader knows fear. One page left… “Nooooooo….”
Adam Rex’s laugh-out-loud send-up of Darth Vader and his steely persona takes full advantage of the Star Wars world and lore—from the movies to spin-off toys to kids’ pretend Star Wars play—to immerse readers in the humor and power of his story. Cloaked in darkness, the pages, created from mixed-media illustrations punctuated with white and yellow text, are masterfully funny. While Darth Vader stands stoically, his mask never changing, Rex wrings out an array of emotions through the humor of the narrator’s questions and Vader’s monotone answers.
The monsters who attempt to frighten Vader are straight from Halloween sidewalks, adding to the comic effect. When they’re unmasked, their love for this villain is unmistakable. Vader may strike threatening poses and shake his fist at the injustice of it all, but deep down could he be enjoying himself?
For Star Wars lovers (and who isn’t?) and those who love to laugh, Are You Scared Darth Vader? is a celebration of sci-fi fun for home, classroom, and public libraries.
Ages 5 – 8
Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2018 | ISBN 978-1484704974
Discover more about Adam Rex, his books, and his art on his website.
National Science Fiction Day Activity
Out-of-this-World Tic-Tac-Toe Game
You can launch your own Tic-Tac-Toe Game with this set you make yourself! With just a couple of egg cartons, some crayons, and a printable game board, you’ll be off to the moon for some fun! Opposing players can be designated by rockets and capsules. Each player will need 5 playing pieces.
- Printable Moon Tic-Tac-Toe Game Board
- 2 cardboard egg cartons
- Heavy stock paper or regular printer paper
- Black or gray fine-tip marker
To Make the Rockets
- Cut the tall center cones from the egg carton
- Trim the bottoms of each form so they stand steadily, leaving the arched corners intact
- Pencil in a circular window on one side near the top of the cone
- Color the rocket body any colors you like, going around the window and stopping where the arched corners begin
- With the marker color the arched corners of the form to make legs
- On the cardboard between the legs, color flames for blast off
To Make the Capsule
- Cut the egg cups from an egg carton
- Color the sides silver, leaving the curved section uncolored. (If your egg cup has no pre-pressed curve on the sides of the cup, draw one on each side.)
- Color the curved section yellow to make windows
- With the marker, dot “rivets” across the capsule
Print the Moon Game Board and play!
You can find Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? at these booksellers
Picture Book Review