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- Author: Ben Hatke
- Artist: Ben Hatke
- Publisher: First Second Books
- Book Genre: Fantasy/Children's
- Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Book Review: Julia's House for Lost Creatures
Wonderfully imaginative children's book
By Chuck Francisco
August 13, 2014
Julia's House of Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
© First Second Books
Remember the early parts of the Harry Potter series which were jammed full of wistful, innocent exploration of the amazing, before it became all dark and murdery? Julia's House for Lost Creatures feels like a slice of life full of extraordinary wonder. I shouldn't at all be surprised since it springs from the mind of Zita the Spacegirl author Ben Hatke (Check out my review of Zita). And so I find myself penning what is perhaps the strangest review of my writing career, that of an overly large illustrated book for young children. Hatke packs in so much creativity and wonder though, that I had an innocently fun time anyhow.
Julia's House for Lost Creatures is a 40 page hardcover book which features an absolutely beautiful illustration on every single page. Hatke's art style is whimsical, vibrant, lovely, and lush. From his imagination springs mermaids, and goblins, and fairies, and more. The story is a simple one: Julia moves into a comfortable house by the sea, something akin to hobbit hole or the Weasley home. She quickly finds this to be boring and lonely, and so posts a sign that lost creatures are welcome to live with her, but this proves more than she bargained for. Only her ingenuity and quick thinking can keep this from turning into uncontrolled chaos.
Keeping in mind that this is a kids' book for young children, I can still see adults interested in design, art, comic books, and rich illustrations perhaps picking this up. For the intended audience though, this is the manner of magic that inspires the young to amazing creativity, and fully unlocks the world of boundless imagination. If you have children, or are looking for a superb gift for a young one, Julia's House of Lost Creatures is an absolute must purchase.
Julia's House for Lost Creatures is comes out September 2nd from First Second Books as a hardcover picture book for $17.99.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Shock-O-Rama, the look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.