Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke (published June 2016)
We first discovered Ben Hatke through his Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel trilogy. My husband was looking for new graphic novels for the girls to read and he struck gold with Zita. My girls loved the series so much that my youngest (Little Lion Bookworm) demanded a Zita costume. There are no Zita the Spacegirl costumes that you can buy. Well, my rule for Halloween is to decide in August in case I need to make the costume. And there’s no changing minds if I make the costume. I had so much fun making this costume that I finished it before school even started. Little Lion Bookworm ended up wearing her costume to her first day of kindergarten. And Halloween. And multiple seemingly ordinary and not-so-ordinary days.
We’re obviously big fans of Hatke—the first read-along on our YouTube channel is Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. So, of course, we bought his second picture book, Nobody Likes a Goblin, and are eagerly awaiting our pre-ordered copy of Mighty Jack that comes out on Sept 6 (today!).
Nobody Likes a Goblin takes the traditional Dungeons and Dragons characters and turns them on their heads. We follow the bravery of Goblin aka The Goblin King as he goes out to rescue his very best friend, Skeleton. The pictures are gorgeously done in water color, the characters aren’t your typical characters and yet you’re rooting for Goblin all along. Because even though it’s a take on D&D, the root of this story is about friendship. And if you learn a bit more about not judging people, goblins, trolls etc. at first glance so be it.
My favorite spread (my ‘wow’ page as Little Lion’s teachers would say) is the one with the sunset and two baby dragons in the foreground. However, I also love the beginning sequences of the dungeon with lots of negative space and darkness, not your usual finding in picture books!
If you’re a fan of D&D, you need to check out this book. If you like off-the-wall characters, you’re going to like this book as well. If you admire beautifully-illustrated spreads, you’re going to enjoy this book. And if you’re a sucker for a good friendship book like I am, well, you’re just going to love it. After all, nobody may like a goblin, but there are many people who are going to love him!
Rating: This book belongs on the floor or lowest book shelf. We’ve been admiring all the details in the pictures and reading this one over and over again.
Mini Me Bookworm: Buy it! The pictures are really good and I like how there are unsaid stories within the story, like the maiden in the wagon who rose up against the adventurers with a dagger.
Little Lion Bookworm: Buy it! (Spoiler alert!) I like how the goblins defend the Goblin King.
Ages: 4 and up, unless your tot is very good about sitting still for a story and won’t rip up these gorgeous pages! My bookworms would have been able to listen to this one at age 2.
Side note: why do publishers write ‘ages 4-8’ as if older kids won’t enjoy picture books? Mini-me bookworm can’t resist them! Though she picks up any book she walks by…..
Psst….Ben Hatke, if you so happen to be reading this, what do you think of Little Lion’s costume? I combed through the internet for ideas and found many little Zitas, including one visiting you at NYCC. Lots of Zita fans out there, big and small.