Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Nobody Likes a Goblin, Ben Hatke

Nobody Likes a Goblin

Goblin, a cheerful little homebody, lives in a cozy, rat-infested dungeon, with his only friend, Skeleton. Every day, Goblin and Skeleton play with the treasure in their dungeon. But one day, a gang of "heroic" adventurers bursts in. These marauders trash the place, steal all the treasure, and make off with Skeleton—leaving Goblin all alone!
It's up to Goblin to save the day. But first he's going to have to leave the dungeon and find out how the rest of the world feels about goblins.

I am in love with the illustrations in this one, particularly the little goblin. His jaw structure reminds me of a certain furry fellow I know

Hatke's style makes me think of Jim Henson collaborating with Mercer Mayer. The more humanoid characters have a slight Lord of the Rings feel, while the 'creatures' are just plain CUTE! The itty bitty dragons! And poor troll, who has lost his Honk-Honk! I could stare at these for hours.

The story is just as sweet. Poor little goblin hides in fear from the horrible adventurers, but once he realizes they have taken his best friend, he wastes no time in going after him. Much of the world is less than friendly to him, and the usual heroes (knights, elves) turn out to be the bad guys, while homely little Goblin's loyalty saves the day. In the end he has not only his old friend back, but a new and varied group of friends, from fellow goblins to a fair maiden.

And did I mention how CUTE he is?

Giving this as a gift? I did some investigating, and found Hatke (who is a bit of a cutie-patootie himself) sells some of his original artwork and prints, ranging from $35 to $600. You can find them here, on Etsy. Any would look wonderful, framed and hung on your reader's wall. Or, on mine, if you should feel the need to shop some more!

***This book has been nominated for the Cybils Awards, and I am a first-round panelist in this category. There are many other panelists, and many MANY other great nominees, so a good or bad review here does not necessarily predict placement on the shortlist.

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