As an avid reader of high fantasy, especially Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narina, and The Earthsea Cycle, I get excited when I find children’s books that let me share my literary loves with my kids. Nobody Likes a Goblin and Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, written and illustrated by Ben Hatke are wonderful books for introducing children into the magical world of elves and trolls.
Nobody Likes a Goblin is the story of an unlikely hero: Goblin. After wizard and company raid his home he must set out on a quest to rescue his friend Skeleton. One of the most endearing qualities of this book – besides the fantastic illustrations – is our hero. As with most fantasy tales, Goblin faces several obstacles before reaching his goal, but what I really appreciate with this story is the flipped script. Oftentimes goblins are portrayed as villains but here we have one that is the hero. I think it’s important to teach children about perspective and that sometimes the person who might seem like the bad guy is actually good. Most of the characters in the book have the same reaction to Goblin: EEK! But we know that he is doing something brave and noble. If nothing else this could prompt a discussion about judging a person not by his appearance but by his actions.
In Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, we met Julia moving into a new town on her house wielding giant tortoise (I want one!) and as she settles in she realizes she’s lonely. Soon she is hard at work making a sign to welcome lost creatures into her home. At first she only has one houseguest but soon more appear. More houseguests equal more mess. After some frustration Julia creates a chore chart for everyone to lend a hand. Now that the mermaid is doing the dishes and the dragon is making tea, the house is running much smoother – mostly. I love the parade of magical creatures, especially the mermaid with her sea drenched mane and rubber ducky. I also appreciate Julia’s ingenuity and heart as she opens her home to those in need.
Both Goblin and Julia are, in their own way, adventurous spirits and I find myself wanting to share jokes with Goblin and have a nice cup of tea with Julia. If I could find a way to jump into the pages of these books, I would. And I would take the kids with me.
Gone on an adventure. Be back by dinner. XOXO.
P.S. Don’t close the book.