Friday, September 5, 2014

Julia's House for Lost Creatures

Julia's House for Lost Creatures is one of those books that I think could be a graphic novel or also could be considered a children's picture book. It certainly used sequential art conventions. Artist/writer Ben Hatke is known for his prior work on the Zita the Spacegirl series of graphic novels, and this book is published by First Second, one of the premier US publishers of graphic novels. So I am going to call it a graphic novel.

I also could call it a bunch of other things, like delightful, fun, gorgeous, and sweet. Julia has a walking house (like a cute Baba Yaga, only with a giant turtle), and she parks it in a delightful area. She loves her surroundings, but things are just too quiet. So she hangs a shingle inviting lost creatures, and soon the house is overrun with all kinds of critters: goblins, fairies, trolls, mermaids, and a dragon even!
Suddenly quiet is non-existent and chaos reigns. Julia has to hatch a plan to calm things down, and she has a clever solution that resolves matters in classic storybook fashion.
There is so much to recommend this book, from its beautiful artwork and fantastic creatures to Hatke's many humorous details that add yet another layer of joy. Finally, the plot is one I think many parents will appreciate because of the resolution where all of Julia's creatures learn a lesson.

All the reviews I have read about this book have been glowing. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Hatke steps from graphic novels (Zita the Spacegirl) to the picture-book format with aplomb, blending tropes from both worlds for a sweetly weird domestic adventure." Tasha Saecker called it "An exceptional picture book debut." Bill Boerman-Cornell wrote, "The story is good, but there are at least five other reasons why I love this book." Go click on his name and see what they are.

Julia's House for Lost Creatures was published by First Second, and they provide reviews and other resources here.

Thank you for the review copy, Gina!

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