“Julia’s house came to town and settled by the sea,” so begins Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, Ben Hatke’s tale of how a too-quiet house became one full of lost creatures including a mermaid, a ghost, a dragon, a troll, a giant snail, some bats, and Patched Up Kitty, who “wasn’t like other kitties.”
Julia is a determined red-head, running about the house and solving the problems caused by the variety of creatures in the house. She thinks her problems through and comes up with creative solutions, from inviting the creatures in to finding a plumber to deal with the leaks. Sometimes she needs time to think first, and she takes it.
The creatures are a varied and amusing bunch. The troll has branches in his hair and is accompanied by a small black bird; the dragon is a long, green fellow with a beaked snout, the bats have huge eyes, and several small grey creatures dance through the house, enjoying the music and demanding tea and toast.
The pages of this graphic book for young readers are divided between full-page spreads of the house and its creatures, pages with comic book paneling, and pages without comic book borders that still tell different parts of the story. It is an effective way to tell the tale, visually interesting and advancing the story at a comfortable rate.
Each page has at most three sentences on it, divided up into short segments to enable beginning readers to tackle the text without feeling lost, yet the prose never feels forced. There are also playful sound-effects, SCRAPES, SCRATCHES, and WHINES enlarged and colored in to show their force.
Julia’s House for Lost Creatures is a humorous tale of friendship and problem-solving. Recommended for early readers with a bent for the fantastic and for people who enjoy fantastical illustration, clear storytelling, and a sense of fun.
Julia’s House for Lost Creatures will be out September 2, 2014. To order from Amazon, click here. You may also find it in your local bookstore or library.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: First Second
ISBN: 1596438665 (ISBN13: 9781596438668)