I grew up watching The Muppet Show and the Muppet movies with my family and I’m counting down the days until the movie opens, so I’ll admit I opened the books with the bar set high. Overall, I think the creators manage to capture the spirit of Jim Henson’s original characters and the tone of the Muppet productions.
The adaptations of literary classics (to date: Robin Hood, Peter Pan, King Arthur, Snow White, and Sherlock Holmes) are more successful than The Muppet Show Comic Book stories, which serve as enjoyable companions to the TV show. Sure, literary purists will scoff at the Electric Mayhem rock band portraying the Seven Dwarfs and the Great Gonzo as Sherlock Holmes, but those folks probably won’t pick up these books anyway. Muppet completists, on the other hand, will get a kick out of seeing old friends in these classic roles. The characters retain their own quirky personalities (e.g., Fozzie Bear’s sense of humor, Miss Piggy’s diva temper), humor, and Muppet-centric cultural references.
Most of the illustrators’ renderings of the characters are passable, but a note to Roger Langridge: your Kermit (left) looks like he was stretched on the rack, and the rest of the characters are also frightening versions of themselves. The texts would have benefitted from some fine-tuning, but the venture is one I’m glad BOOM! Kids (now Kaboom! as of February 21) has undertaken. Every book acknowledges The Muppets Studio, which adds an additional level of credibility. What stories should the Muppets and Boom! Kids/Kaboom! tackle next?