We don’t normally review children’s books. I am making an exception for Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke. (“Are rules really rules if they’re never broken?” – Aristotle, probably)
A couple of years ago, I needed to buy a present for my niece. As a book blogging person who wishes people read more so that they’d talk to me about books, I wanted that present to be a book. I didn’t (and still don’t) really know anything about kids books. Fortunately, around that time, I happened to read through a few Goodreads reviews written by the fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss. He gave a children’s book a glowing review. That book was Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. I bought it for my niece.
She loved it.
After she opened the present, she asked me to read it with her. She sat on my lap, and I read the book to her. The illustrations of fantastical creatures — some based on folklore, some original — fired up her imagination. I listened to her theories about ghost whales and goblins and monsters. Years later, it’s still my niece’s favorite book. She just did a project with it for second grade.
I could go on about how the book is cool because it shows a young girl in charge, the importance of sharing chores, and non-violent problem-solving. But whatever. The really important thing is that my niece liked the present I got her. I thought maybe readers of this blog might have children or need to get a present for a kid. If you do, I’d really encourage you to check out this book.
My rating: 5 stars
A note: Have no fear. I’m not transitioning into doing extensive children’s reviews. Next week’s entry will be about the science-fiction space opera Ancillary Justice. But I didn’t think that one children’s book recommendation would hurt too badly. Maybe it will result in a gift that will inspire a future fantasy writer that I’ll review. That’d be neat. Anyway, stay tuned for our continued reviews of epic fantasy, Serious Literature, YA lit, fairy tales with a modern twist and a lot of gardening knowledge (I do love Ursula Vernon’s stuff), historical Nebula winners, and whatever else tickles the fancies of Ardis and me.