Readers would be right to worry that a Dark Crystal story about a young Jen and Kira might create some kind of “Muppet Babies” weirdness in the franchise. That’s a reasonable worry. Nobody wants to try to sort that canon out.
Good news. “Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Tales” does not stray from characterizations in the 1982 classic “The Dark Crystal.” There is no weird girl Scooter. It’s a good, cute story for children. Although, it may be hard for younger readers to follow the deeper canon that permeates the hardcover.
Taken as a children’s book as a whole, this collection of side-stories is a quick, cute story of how kind acts build on each other to make the world better. Tied loosely together through the story of a small bird that suffers an injury at the hand of the Skeksis, these stories show young Jen and young Kira living among their adopted families. And Fizzgig’s got a part to play, too.
“Dark Crystal Tales” is one of those children’s books that does that thing where the story works on the surface for younger readers but also has a deeper story because of the embedded canon. Sometimes writers can lean too heavily on this, but in the case of “Dark Crystal Tales,” author Cory Godbey manages to strike a balance that should make this hardcover part of any reader’s collection, whether they hold the franchise in high esteem or are completely unaware of it. The story works both ways. And your kids will enjoy it. I mean, Fizzgig, right?
The tone of the art is true to the style established in the films and is delivered in (mostly) full page spreads. Godbey’s expressive, emotional illustrations bring the world of the Dark Crystal to life.
It’s a good time to be part of the Dark Crystal renaissance.