kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman) wrote,

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Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Dear Readers,

You really should get your hands on this graphic novel for the younger set, which is, for all intents and purposes, a most excellent picture book (there, I said it). It includes multiple panels on some pages, but nothing that's difficult to follow, and it should therefore not deter a single soul that it is technically a graphic novel and not a picture book.

The plot is adorable. The art is adorable-er. Julia moves to town (her house, it should be noted, moves with her on the back of an enormous tortoise, which is never mentioned but can be seen on the interior title page), and settles in, and finds that things are a bit too quiet. So she does what anyone might do, and puts out a sign that reads "Julia's House for Lost Creatures".

The first to arrive is an adorable patchwork kitty named "Patched Up Kitty". It has odd behaviors, but is excellent company. Next comes "a very sad troll", followed by a host of creatures, most of them mythical in nature.

Don't you just love it?

Needless to say, things go terribly wrong before they get set right again by use of another sign - this one establishing a variety of chores for the house's many inhabitants. Julia makes one final sign at the end of the book, this time seeking someone for repairs, odd jobs, and plumbing. The call for help is answered by someone(s) who look a lot like Hatke's Little Robot.

If you are looking for fun or whimsy, this is your book. If you are looking for a great bedtime story or a rollicking tale, this is also your book. If you are looking for a (gentle) lesson on cooperation and possibly delegation of tasks, guess what? That's right - this is your book. If you are looking for a not-Halloweeny Halloween-like title, this is also your book. If you like mythological creatures like mermaids and trolls and folletti, . . . well, you already know what I'm going to say.

It is magical and adorable and special and I am only sad that I am in possession of an Advance Reader's Edition (thanks to the good folks at :01 First Second), and not a finished copy of the book, because the ARC isn't holding up to repeated hugging the way I believe the final, hardcover edition will when this book goes on sale in mid-October. (The 14th, to be precise, but perhaps it will be available early? Because really, you want this book. Stat.) I know that I'm putting the date on my calendar because I really need to replace this advance copy with the real thing.

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Tags: book reviews, fantasy, graphic novels, hatke
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