Dune: the best books for children in the known universe

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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

  • JustStark

    I saw these! They were lying in a pound shop, (back when you could actually get decent stuff for a pound), before I had any clue what Dune was, and of course, the movie having been a flop, I had never even heard of it — though I remember being vaguely aware on some level from the way they looked the same as Star Wars tie-ins that there must have been a movie.

    Never spent my hard-unearned pocket money on them, though. Just read them while my Mum was off grocery shopping.

    The puzzle I remember most isn't in the scans, though: it was a maze with a spaceship at one end and a planet at the other, and you were supposed to 'fold space' (i.e., the page) to put the exit of the maze next to the entrance, thus making it, like, the worst maze ever.

  • ” 'fold space' (i.e., the page) to put the exit of the maze next to the entrance, thus making it, like, the worst maze ever.”

    I guess it's an interesting piece of practical topology for young children (are all mazes topologically equivalent and/or solvable through a transformation of an n-dimensional Riemannian surface?), but pretty rubbish as a puzzle. The whole thing's clearly a bunch of people going “They asked us to do what? How are we going to do that? F*ck it, let's just put out something bizarre – no one's going to buy it.”