When I see Ben Hatke’s name on a book I instantly go for it. He has proven multiple times that he is a very skilled and talented storyteller both in his writing and visuals. In particular, I have grown fond of his one off children’s stories. Things like Little Robot, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and of course his Zita the Spacegirl series. If I had to compare Nobody Likes a Goblin to one of the aforementioned series, I would say that its closest to Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. The reason being that the format is first and for most similar, but that they both read like children’s story books. I’m actually looking forward to the day that my son can understand what I’m reading to him because this is a book with a moral to it.
That’s the success of any kid’s story, a moral lesson that is taught. The lesson for Nobody Likes a Goblin, is that you shouldn’t judge people by their looks or what they are. It’s a simple story, but it’s paced and layered incredibly well. There’s a sense of normality in the Goblin’s life which then is uprooted and forces him to go on an adventure and not be scared. There’s more to the layer, but to explain it would basically spoil the story so I won’t.
Hatke’s artwork is as always impressive. What stood out in this story was his use of the page. He didn’t fill each page until Goblin left the dungeon he was in. It was a great way to show the loneliness of his life. But Hatke continued this trend of not filling the entire page because it really gave it again, a children’s book look to it. I felt like a kid again while reading it and that was just an experience that I didn’t expect.
Hatke’s design for Goblin and later on his friends were also very unique and a different take on the fantasy monsters. He’s more on the cute side than dangerous and yet everyone is afraid of him. The adventurers also have a great design as they look like D&D characters.
Obviously with as many times I mentioned it, this book is better suited for a younger reader. That isn’t to say that you won’t get anything out of reading it yourself, but there will be far more enjoyment in sharing it with your kids. It is a book I plan to read over and over and the nice thing is that I don’t think I’ll grow tired of it.
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