Critter Quarters: Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
JULIA'S HOUSE CAME INTO TOWN
AND SETTLED BY THE SEA.
It seems that Julia can settle down wherever she wills, being that her rambling but tumbledown old house sits upon the back of a giant tortoise.
Her cottage by the sea is picturesque, but soon it is too quiet for Julia's taste.
Up goes a sign, JULIA'S HOUSE FOR LOST CREATURES, and it doesn't take much time to attract tenants. But they are a fantastical lot--and a troublesome lot as well. It's not too hard to see why this bunch are homeless.
There's an annoying troll who constantly moans the lack of a bridge to lurk beneath. Patched-up Kitty walks up the walls. The mermaid monopolizes the bathtub, and everyone demands fresh towels. As more and more creatures come to stay, Julia is suddenly too busy, providing cozy fires and tea and toast at all hours. Quiet it's not.
And Julia's motley visitors are a sloppy lot as well. Washing up, sweeping up, and mopping up behind everything from yellow duckies to dragons has her run ragged. Julia's House for Lost Creatures requires a little rethinking.
And soon another sign goes up:
JULIA'S HOUSE: CHORE CHART
Ben Hatke's Julia's House for Lost Creatures (Roaring Brook Press, 2014) is a piquant little tale of the perils of innkeeping for fanciful beasties. Like the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Julia, in her tidy green kerchief and apron, and her prosaic housekeeping dilemmas, are all too ordinary, while her roomers are exceedingly extraordinary. All these tea-drinking ghosties and ghoulies make for some humorous illustrations, done delightfully in Ben Hatke's light black line and pleasant blue and green-hued palette.
Kirkus Reviews observes, "Hatke steps from graphic novels (Zita the Spacegirl) to the picture-book format with aplomb, blending tropes from both worlds for a sweetly weird domestic adventure. Readers will want to move right in."