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Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke

Review copy provided by First Second.

This is another picture book, but it was one that was much more successful for me than The Zoo Box. Julia lives in a house by the sea, at first by herself. She advertises that lost creatures are welcome and soon has a house full of trolls, ghosts, and more. The text is minimalist without being unduly spartan, letting the charming illustrations carry the day–the house, for example, is on the back of a giant turtle, and the troll plays with an old-fashioned gigantic phonograph. Julia herself has a workshop for making and fixing things, though she is not above asking for help when it’s needed.

Hatke wrote the Zita the Spacegirl comics, and he makes the jump to a shorter, more spare text gracefully while keeping a certain familiar style to the characters. Julia’s House for Lost Creatures is a little treasure I’ll be glad to keep and share–definitely a good start for First Second crossing the line from graphic novels into picture books.

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