Imaginative readers will pore over the illustrations for much longer than one reading.

JULIA'S HOUSE GOES HOME

The trilogy of picture books about Julia’s peripatetic House for Lost Creatures ends with this title, in which kindness begets kindness.

In trilogy opener Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (2014), Julia, who presents White, opens her home to a world of phantasmagorical creatures. In sequel Julia’s House Moves On (2020), the house literally goes on a journey, taking the home and all its inhabitants with it. And now at last, the house has found the Perfect Spot to settle down. With the first two books, Julia’s openness and kindness lead to kerfuffles and conundrums. In this final title, the house plunges down a craggy mountain and is left in total ruins, with only the sign, a doorknob, and the front door remaining. Hatke’s lavish watercolor illustrations are magnetic and spirited, as the menagerie of curious and strange creatures are strewn all over the land. What to do? The answer lies in Julia’s open and unquestioning acceptance of every creature found on the pages. A unicorn? “We’ll make room.” A cemetery full of ghosts? “Just follow me.” Even Julia’s optimism crumbles when she finds she’s led creature friends both old and new to a junkyard instead of a home. But her unfailing welcome to all, even when it leads to quandaries, is a rare treasure, bringing friendship and support back to her in spades. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Imaginative readers will pore over the illustrations for much longer than one reading. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76932-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers.

JULIA'S HOUSE MOVES ON

From the Julia's House series

Julia decides to pack up and move her House for Lost Creatures, creating a host of problems with unexpected results.

Julia has taken in a cacophony of lost creatures: dwarves, trolls, and goblins, a singular rarity of a mermaid, and a patchwork cat, among others. But now, the house feels ready for a move. As the ghost starts to fade and the mermaid languishes, Julia puts her plan into action—packing books and stacking boxes. The move quickly turns into a series of catastrophes. Trying to retain the facade of control, Julia is dismayed to see her plans making things worse. Knowledge of the previous title, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (2014), is a helpful introduction, as Hatke turns the solution of the first book into the problem for this one. With skillful pacing, the story has messages for both planners and creatives. The problems seem beyond resolution, keeping readers in gleeful suspended tension. While the first book introduced readers to the gnomish folletti, a hedgehoglike ghillie comes to a dramatic rescue here. There are two disparate messages in one story: Kindness will be returned, and it is OK to not have a plan. Connecting them together are lush illustrations that stretch the mind and add details to mythic beasts. Julia presents white. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25% of actual size.)

This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19137-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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