If He Ever Gets Out of Here: Han on the Run

The Solo: A Star Wars Story young reader makes the Gardiner family sing along to Wings while Stewart adds the Ultimate Sticker Book to his not-so-secret stash

Your eyes do not deceive you, that is indeed a picture of Paul McCartney and Wings on a review of two of DK’s Solo: A Star Wars Story publications. Look, the young reader is called Han on the Run. What else was I supposed to do? The matter was out of my hands. I thought that the best way to test-drive the book was to read it to our two kids. I found it impossible to read the title out loud without proceeding to sing it to the tune of “Band on the Run.” So why partake of that alone? I had us all belting it out in moments.

Han on the Run

I have a real soft spot for the DK young readers that accompany a new Star Wars movie, and Han on the Run is no exception. The way that they compress the story and avoid spoilery details as to characters’ fates brings back fond memories of my Empire Strikes Back pop-up book I’ve had since I was a kid. I might’ve read that before seeing the film, although I’ve no way of telling. If I had then I wouldn’t have been spoiled – Vader isn’t revealed as Luke’s father and Luke doesn’t even get his hand chopped off. Han is strangely absent – presumably so he can’t get frozen in carbonite. Star Wars tie-in titles have come a long way since then of course and DK always do a wonderful job of providing information in a fun, likable way that is age appropriate.

Han on the Run

It was a smart move featuring a certain alien from the Lodge on Vandor. Because, let’s face it, what Therm Scissorpunch lacks in finesse he more than makes up for with a name straight out of a Burroughsian routine (yes, I just mentioned William Burroughs in a comment about a Star Wars young reader). I can vouch for the fact that our eight-year-old daughter and almost five-year-old son both found the name side-achingly hilarious.

The quizzes at the end of these books always prove popular in our house and this is one of the best they’ve done. Ten questions feels like the perfect amount (sometimes there aren’t quite enough) and these weren’t too easy, so the kids really had to think. I conducted my own pre-quiz quiz by asking who was in charge of Crimson Dawn. They have only seen Solo once so far and it was over a month ago, so that’s not as easy a question as it may seem. My daughter tried Vos (without actually naming him), followed by the Emperor. Over to my youngest, who had been very restless in the cinema according to my wife (I was at home sick). He surprised us by definitively answering, “Darth Maul.” His sister was full of wonder, asking him how he did it! I think he was pretty chuffed about that.

Han on the Run

The Solo Ultimate Sticker Collection is as packed full of fun and stickers as one has come to expect from DK. Thing is, I’m not going to be peeling or sticking any of them anytime soon. Or actually ever. I’ve kept a single pristine copy of the sticker book accompanying each new Star Wars film since TFA and I refuse to stop now. They’re there on a shelf among other books for all to see, but it would seem no-one else in the family realised this was something I was doing. It’s probably not a good idea to admit to your children that you are keeping sticker books non-stickered. They might think you’re crazier than old Therm Scissorpunch. Who probably isn’t crazy at all. Just because he has a name like that doesn’t mean… [fades out to the sounds of “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings]

Han on the Run and Solo: A Star Wars Story: Ultimate Sticker Collection are published by DK and are available now.

Stewart Gardiner

Unreliable narrator. David Lynch nerd. Star Wars fan. International assassin. Arthouse and classic film. Co-editor-in-chief at Future of the Force. Writer at 25 Years Later.

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