Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure
Artists: Kate Sherron, Laura Langston
Review by Melissa Prange
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure takes you on a journey through the film. As you turn the pages, you join Sarah on her quest to save Toby from the Goblin King. Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure is part storybook and part search and find puzzle. As the book weaves its way through the story, the reader must find Toby and other items. On one page, you search for Jareth in the Bog of Eternal Stench, and on another, an owl in the junkyard. Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure combines the aesthetics of a Golden Book with the concept of I, Spy, but unfortunately, it only kind of works.
While Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure does tell the story of the film, it weirdly stops before the resolution. The last pages deal with the “Within You” staircase scene, claiming you’ll only have to find Toby one last time before returning home. Sadly, Sarah and Toby never return home. Without one final page reuniting them, it’s odd that this book takes story form at all. A Discovery Adventure could have been Labyrinth-themed search and finds, but it’s not. It’s a story and one without an ending at that. Even though everyone who has seen the film knows how it ends, A Discovery Adventure still feels incomplete.
As for the searching and finding aspect of the book, I find it unfortunate that the same four items repeat on each page (with a random fifth one thrown in). For one, that’s not many items to search and find, and for another, finding the same four items over and over again can get a little boring. While I realize this is not a book geared toward adults, I can’t imagine any child older than low elementary school being very caught up with the puzzle side of the book (which makes it even weirder that the story is incomplete). If more items had been included on every page, it might have kept the book from getting monotonous and made it so slightly older children could appreciate it as well.
Thankfully, the art helps make up for some of the other weaknesses in the book. As a search and find, it’s no surprise that Kate Sherron and Laura Langston’s art is impressively detailed. Each page is packed full with characters, creatures, and miscellany — all in an adorably stylized form. Sir Didymus and Ambrosius come across especially cute in the art style and the goblins are splendidly varied. I particularly love the colors in the book. The deep blues, purples, and reds give the artwork a lovely jewel tone and make the pages pop. The search and finds thankfully integrate so well that they don’t distract from the overall look of the book, and everything just ends up looking very, very beautiful.
The Verdict: Skip It.
Sadly, the art can’t make up for the weaknesses in the overall execution of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure. The incomplete story and the simplicity of the search and finds cause the book to be an overall disappointment. With all the great storytelling and artwork coming out of the Labyrinth comics, Labyrinth: A Discovery Adventure simply cannot compare. Unless you have a Labyrinth superfan under the age of eight in your household, you can safely skip this one.