Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure
Cameron Chittock (Editor); Kate Sherron (Pencils); Laura Langston (colors; cover)
Do you have a relative who’s too young for the sometimes-intense imagery of Labyrinth? Are they not quite old enough to pick Waldo out of a line-up, but still love scavenger hunting for familiar objects hidden in the well-drawn landscape of a happy scene? Then Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: a Discovery Adventure will likely please them!
The premise of the book is simple: each page describes and illustrates a pivotal scene from Labyrinth with a brief text expansion and a duel-page spanning illustration, and provides a bright white “Discover” panel that includes illustrations of several iconic people or objects from the movie. Young readers are then instructed to search among the objects within a scene to find the items listed hidden there, be they a crystal ball hidden among the Junk Lady’s things or an owl that’s suddenly a fluttery part of Sarah’s hair. It’s a game that can provide a decent challenge for the youthful, as the pages are delightfully cluttered in that Where’s Waldo? way with various other characters and objects from the franchise that act as distracting red herrings. It’s a quick read for the observant or older readers in your family, but will provide the youthful or the owl-or-Bowie-obsessed kids a good afternoon.
For children—I’d say anyone on the north face of eight—teenagers, and adults, the real highlight here is Kate Sherron’s cartoonish, sweet-faced art, with its friendly look and easily accessible illustrations that make the movie its own thing, but also clearly and playfully transposes Sarah, Jareth and the goblins to the world of illustrated art with ease. Probably my favorite spread take us to the movie’s pivotal confrontation between Jareth and Sarah at Jareth’s labyrinth. With M.C. Escher-style brio, characters and objects are splashed about the place in a topsy-turvy manner that feels potently on-brand for the movie. But who wouldn’t want to find Toby hidden willy-nilly among fighting goblins, or a crystal ball glittering among the rocks of Jareth’s palace? Adding onto the calming, soft tone of the art, Laura Langston amply and delicately fills the borders of each image with sunset reds, starscape purples, and pale blues that highlight the film’s beauty.
Overall, for the young ones on your shopping list who need something to do as winter turns into spring, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure is a fairly decent buy.