My kids and I are big fans of Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl series, so we’re excited about his new book, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. Unlike the Zita series, however, Julia’s House is a picture book, one of the first from First Second Books. Picture books have always had that blend of image and text that makes comics so magical, so it makes sense for First Second to start publishing them as well. Hook ’em while they’re young!
To celebrate the release of Julia’s House (out on September 2), Ben Hatke is doing a blog tour, and GeekDad is proud to be his first stop! Follow along to see concept sketches and art from the book, with some details about the fantastic creatures that find their way to Julia’s house.
A word about the book itself: Hatke is great at drawing bizarre creatures, so Julia’s House really puts that talent to good use. When Julia settles down by the sea, it’s a little too quiet, so she puts out a sign—and pretty soon all manner of lost creatures start showing up at her door. It’s exciting, and then crowded and frustrating, until Julia comes up with a good way to wrangle them. (I do wonder how much this premise is inspired by Hatke’s own life with four kids…)
Since I’ve read the Zita series, it’s hard not to want more when the book is over, but it’s a delightful picture book that my kids enjoy. And now, I’ll let Ben Hatke tell you a bit about dragons.
Dragons: With long, serpentine bodies, scales and differing numbers of legs, wings and horns (the dragon in Julia’s House has horns, but sports neither legs nor wings) most dragons you meet today are impossibly old. Contemporary dragons tend to view both the hoarding of treasure and the killing and eating of knights as something they did in their younger, more rebellious years. These days the few dragons that can still be found are mostly gentle and near sighted creatures that prefer a good nap over burning down a village.
Dragons love using toasters. A dragon will make toast all day if you let it. There’s a theory that much of the mythical violence of the Middle Ages could have been avoided if toasters had been invented earlier.
A Note from Ben: One of the favorite dragon-centric books at my house is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede. It’s the first book in the Enchanted Forest series which playfully rearranges the common princess/dragon/knight tropes. The early editions of these books feature lovely cover illustrations by the inimitable Trina Schart Hyman.
For the rest of the tour schedule, click here!
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of Julia’s House of Lost Creatures.