I received a free copy of this book from Beyond the Marquee, as part of a giveaway they ran in collaboration with Quirk Books.
Back to the Future is one of my favorite sci-fi / time travel movie franchises of all time. (Sorry, Doctor Who, but you’d best stick to television.) The three-part film series follows the intertemporal exploits of eighties-born teenager Marty McFly and his mad scientist mentor “Doc” Emmet Brown in their time-traveling DeLorean — because if you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style? (I happen to think phone boxes are fairly non-heinous myself, but nobody asked me…)
There are a few reasons why the original film (and then its sequel) might not be ideal for viewing by the youngest members of a family. It’s rated PG-13 for good reason, and its sequels venture into even darker territory. But great Scott! Worry not, because the first installment of the Back to the Future film trilogy is now available in storybook form, re-imagined for an audience of children (or collectors who are children at heart).
Back to the Future, written and illustrated by Kim Smith, is just one volume in the POP Classics storybook series from Quirk Books. Other titles include Home Alone, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The X-Files, sources that range from family-friendly to made the kids hide behind the couch in terms of mature or disturbing content. At first glance, Kim Smith’s charmingly whimsical illustrations and the easy-to-read blocks of text stand out as incredibly kid-friendly. The story is condensed in all the right places for optimum G-rated-ness (the scene where Biff attacks Lorraine during prom night is handled particularly effectively), and then some to improve the flow.
At my age, with no one to read it to, I enjoyed occasionally chuckling at what and how the book abridged, and marveling over the resplendent little details Smith included in the pictures. Just because they aren’t talked about doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I’m also very impressed that someone had the great idea of making these very mature fandoms palatable to a young audience. (Do I like the potential consequence that now these kids will be more inclined to consume the original, less kid-friendly media in the future? Not as much.)
Adults can’t be expected to immerse themselves fulltime in the Teletubby fandom alongside the toddlers in their lives. Sometimes they’re going to turn on the TV and watch something more grownup-appropriate, coincidentally in front of their children. And kids are perceptive and inquisitive, so you may find yourself having to explain the premise of a show that’s waaaay over their heads. In that respect, I feel it’s especially good for younger kids who clearly have some exposure to “grownup” fandoms they don’t fully understand.
I think POP Classic storybooks like Back to the Future are a great way parents or older siblings can bond with the young, aspiring geeks in their lives. The story is told in a cute, quirky, kid-friendly way, but due to its novelty factor, the book can surely be appreciated at any age.
What movie or television series would you like to see adapted into a children’s book? Let us know in a comment down below!