cover image Julia’s House for Lost Creatures

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures

Ben Hatke. First Second, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-866-8

Julia, a resourceful, apron-clad redhead, lives in a dilapidated Victorian house that gives new meaning to the words “mobile home”: it rests atop a giant tortoise. Once the house settles by the sea, Julia isn’t content to sit alone with her amassment of antiques; instead, she opens a “House for Lost Creatures.” Beasts quickly arrive, including a patchwork kitty, a melancholy mermaid, and a variety of Sendakian monsters. In his first picture book, Hatke (the Zita the Spacegirl series) crafts a funny, fantastical scenario with a girl hero in charge. A mix of panel sequences, spot illustrations, and full-bleed spreads push the action forward. When chaos erupts—elves (who consist solely of long beards, beaky noses, and pointy hats) invade the kitchen; the mermaid basks in the tub, demanding towels and soap; and a dance party commences after a troll discovers the record player—Julia assigns each misfit a household chore. Readers will approve of Julia’s democratic solution, especially since it allows the menagerie to stay together—and in a cozy, snoozing heap no less. Ages 4–up. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency. (Sept.)