Dune: the best books for children in the known universe

As you may have gleaned once, twice or even thrice, I’m a big fan of both Dune and Dune. However, both are probably too adult in tone for your average child, which makes this particular movie tie-in I’ve just discovered so thrillingly bonkers.

Both Dune and Dune are hard sells for kids at the best of times – not only complex and layered with subtext on subtext about ecology, the Middle East, oil, religion and more, but also a paean to mind-expanding drugs. That’s probably why Dino de Laurentiis’ 1984 effort to create a franchise on a par with Star Wars probably floundered. That and getting David Lynch to write and direct the movie adaptation.

Full marks for effort, though.

De Laurentiis’ plans meant that there was a merchandising aspect to his franchise ambitions. Star Wars set the template for this, of course, and de Laurentiis followed where Lucas had pioneered. Now I’m not sure if you could ever buy yourself a stillsuit – I suspect not – but here’s a perfect example of why Dune was a bad idea as a potential kids-friendly franchise.

The Dune colouring in and activities books. Now, these boys pretty much speak for themselves, so I don’t feel I need to comment that much on them. Only to wonder exactly what anyone involved was thinking beyond “Star Wars has colouring-in books. Therefore we need colouring-in books.” If you want to see even more of the pages of these delights, you can find them over here.

Duke Leto and Piter die

Burn away Baron Harkonnen's sickness

A Guild navigator


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.