Hob and the Goblins

William Mayne, Author DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $15.95 (140p) ISBN 978-1-56458-713-8
Appearing in his first full-length novel, Hob, the benevolent house ghost who has previously appeared in the British author's picture books, here adopts a family moving into an old country house. Unbeknownst to Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, their new home, known as Fairy Ring Cottage, contains ``a door to the goblin country.'' The children, Tom and Meg, can see Hob, and they also sense danger before their parents do. But, after a terrifying climax which chaotically and violently combines a goblin king and his goblin followers, a band of dwarves, a witch, a possessed bus and a stolen pot of magical gold, Mr. Grimes, too, recognizes the presence-as well as the benefits-of their whimsical, worry-wart and interestingly maternal house spirit. Each of the characters is fully believable, including the supernatural Hob (who, disarmingly, refers to himself in the third person: ``That's what we want most.... A bit of normal: family round the fire, Hob in the hearth''). Mayne is remarkably deft at opening up a fantasy realm to readers of all ages through his playful prose, which twists and stretches to create sly humor, earnest sympathy and, at times, genuine darkness. Ages 8-11. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Children's
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