Friday, September 12, 2014

A Cute, But Fairly Insubstantial, Parody: Fun With Kirk And Spock Is Not Essential Trek!

The Good: Decent artwork, Moments of amusement
The Bad: Fails to appeal to either of its target demographics
The Basics: Fun With Kirk And Spock tries to be a children’s book, but uses too much irony and diction too complex for young readers . . . and is not smart or complex enough for adult fans of Star Trek!

Since Go The Fuck To Sleep (reviewed here!), I have pretty much avoided reviewing children’s books. I am not a good judge of what is age appropriate (generally) and as someone who does not have children and avoids interacting with children or young parents, I find little appeal in reading and reviewing children’s books. But then I saw Fun With Kirk And Spock. My Trekker instincts kicked in and I had to read the book right away. And I did . . . and it’s not worth more than one read-through.

Fun With Kirk And Spock is a picture book in the style of Fun With Dick And Jane. Written by Robb Pearlman with (mostly) simple diction and large drawings of iconic Star Trek characters, Fun With Kirk And Spock is a sixty-four page book that tries (unsuccessfully) to balance between being an educational tool for young Trekkers and a source of amusement for the elders in the same fandom.

Fun With Kirk And Spock introduces readers to the iconic characters of Star Trek (reviewed here!) and gives readers simple statements about them. Written in a simplistic, mildly poetic, style, Fun With Kirk And Spock has many of the things one would expect of a Star Trek-themed parody of Fun With Dick And Jane. So, there are the lines, “See Spock,” ”See Captain Kirk,” etc. followed by simple statements once readers have visually tied the character name to the picture on the page (“Sulu’s sword goes swish!”).

In addition to the iconic characters of Star Trek, Fun With Kirk And Spock introduces readers to key episodes and concepts of Star Trek, albeit in a humorous fashion. The Mirror Universe is designated “bad” because Kirk avoids the advances of women (not because of the tyrannical Empire that keeps humans in fear and Vulcans enslaved); there is commentary that Kirk should let Khan sleep and so forth. Some of the key Star Trek locations are presented with great humor – how secure the Bridge is is a particularly amusing page, for example.

Unfortunately, Fun With Kirk And Spock is a ridiculous educational tool. The transporter is not a useful device about which to educate children and some of the vocabulary is well beyond the age/reading level of those who would need a “See Kirk, See Kirk shoot his phaser, Shoot Kirk! Shoot!” style book. Similarly, the frequent use of irony is unlikely to be something that children learning to read will either get or appreciate, so the book is a tougher sell as a children’s book than it ought to be.

On the flip side, Fun With Kirk And Spock is way too simplistic to be worth it for adult Star Trek fans to give the time of day outside skimming the book once in the store. The diction is simplistic and the humor too safe to engage, so it is more like a Mad Magazine parody than something truly deep and worth returning to. Hopefully, if a Fun With Picard And Data book is ever written, it will pick a target audience and be written to truly satisfy it.

For other humor books, please visit my reviews of:
The Sinner's Guide To The Evangelical Right By Robert Latham
The Tribble's Handbook By Terry J. Erdmann
Bloom County: Penguin Dreams And Stranger Things By Berkeley Breathed


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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