Lumpy’s descent to the ‘Nother World’ on his jungle planet to hunt for special berries for his father’s homecoming becomes a scary adventure.
Writer: Eleanor Ehrhardt
Illustrator: Patricia Wynne
Publisher: Random House Inc.
Release Date: September 1, 1979
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the airing of the Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS. A TV special featuring all of the main characters and introduced a host of bizarre new ones. It should come as no surprise that the accompanying storybook is equally bizarre.
The “Holiday Special” introduced us to Chewbacca’s family: his wife “Mallatobuck” (Malla), his son “Lumpawarrump” (Lumpy”, and Lumpy’s grandfather “Attichitcuk” (Itchy). In the storybook, Lumpy is on a quest to make his father’s favorite dessert “Wasaka-Berry Pudding” to celebrate Chewbacca’s two-hundredth birthday. To collect the main ingredient, Lumpy must embark on a perilous journey to the forest floor below the Wookiee’s tree-top village. The Wookiees unimaginatively refer to this region as the “Nother World”. Naturally, his mother forbids him from going on his quest. So after being inspired by a story his grandfather tells him, Lumpy ignores is mother’s advice and goes on his search anyway. Naturally, his adventure is immediately met by mishap and Lumpy finds himself stranded in the swampy forest below.
As we bear witness to Lumpy’s debacle we are introduced to the weirdness of the Wookiees ability to telepathically communicate or “Thought Waves”, the Millenium Falcon having what looks like a Mirage Fighter Jet in it’s hold, and Malla possessing secret French recipes. It’s enough to make a modern Star Wars fan’s mind do back-flips. Throw in Itchy’s lesson on Kashyyyk history to add a spin to those back-flips. Just like the “Holiday Special”, the storybook is unlike anything ever seen before in the Star Wars universe. Similarly, it is best forgotten.
I rediscovered the storybook as I was searching for more stories of my 3 year-old’s favorite duo, Han Solo and Chewbacca. My first reaction when I found it was that I had never seen a copy of it before. After receiving my copy, I recall reading it as a child from among a stack of books at a laundromat.
Reading it now in the context of what we know of Star Wars, the book seems silly and out-of-place. This is not unusual because it is silly and out-of-place. However, this came out at a time when the Star Wars phenomenon had first exploded onto the world stage and there was only one film to work from. The artwork is of it’s era which isn’t saying that it is terrible but it doesn’t have any of the Star Wars feel to it. It’s simply because there wasn’t one at the time or at least one that was universally developed. Nowadays, we know Star Wars when we see it.
Considering the convoluted material the “Holiday Special” had produced, the book demonstrates the writer had to take a great effort in developing another story in a sensical manner. It is apparent that Eleanor Ehrhardt had to take some liberties to make this happen, however, it remains restricted to a similar plot. Although there is no appearance of Jefferson Starship or Chef Gormaanda (played by Harvey Korman) she extended the life for some of the menagerie of strange characters. So if you should ever find yourself in a “Holiday Special” discussion don’t forget to throw in “Oh how about that storybook!”
George Lucas explains the “Holiday Special” as “That’s one of those things that happened, and I just have to live with it.” It’s fitting advice for all of those who have watched it. If the book compels you to learn more of the turmoil caused by the pursuit of delicacies found in the “Nother World”, you should check out Russ Manning’s 1979 newspaper strip, where the pursuit of “Orga Root” takes us on another bizarre adventure.