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Friday, August 4, 2017

Mighty Jack & the Goblin King by Ben Hatke | Blog Tour



It's no secret around here that I love Ben Hatke's work. All of it. Every last drop of ink, right down to the tiniest, silliest character. Everything is very vivid and lively, with bright, bold colors* and big, big emotions, and I always, always, always finish his stories with a giant smile on my face.

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King was no exception. It's got that perfect blend of whimsical fantasy, sweet and fearless characters, and lush, vibrant coloring that I've come to associate with Hatke's work, and it's also possibly the funniest book he's written, thanks in large part to the goblins (goblins! Anf gobblets! I WANT A GOBBLET. Dammit, how does Ben always make me care about and want these silly little creatures in every. single. book.) As I've said before (in probably every review of Ben Hatke's work that I've ever written), the story feels like elements of my childhood come to life. It's a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, so of course there's that, but also, the giants remind me of the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock, with maybe a dash of Little Monsters and something else from my childhood that I can't quite out my finger on. And Jack and Lilly . . . where to even begin with Jack and Lilly. They're all the best bits of all of my childhood favorite adventurers combined, but with more modern finesse.  There's really nothing not to like about them, and I very, very much would like to see an entire series featuring the adventures of Lilly   the motherfreaking Goblin King!.

This one plunges right into the action, wasting no time from where the first book left off. This is great, but it also means that you definitely should read book one first (though that said, there is enough info given, and most people are familiar enough with the concept of Jack and the Beanstalk, that the majority of readers would still be able to pick this up and read/understand/enjoy it just fine, even without having read book 1. But, dude, read book 1. It's good!) The stakes feel very high in this (poor Lilly gets dragged through the ringer from page one!), and Ben reinterprets/repurposes original elements from Jack and the Beanstalk and similar tales in very fun, clever ways.

And it's just a joy to read. I mean, there's a giant suit full of rats, you guys. I know that's probably repugnant to a lot of you, but I mean, clearly with a blog name like "The Book Rat," I'm more than happy to find surprise rats in my books... And yeah, okay, maybe the rats aren't really good guys here (typical), and maybe a fewof them get a little stabbed. But still. The old sight gag of something smaller (two kids stacked one on the other's shoulders, etc), pretending to be full-sized and Very Important is only made funnier and more absurd by the fact that it's rats. But even for those of you who won't be won over by the rats, I can't imagine there will be many people who will pick this or any of Hatke's books up and not be charmed. And those who are already fans may find a surprise special guest or two tucked away in these pages...

If I haven't already made it clear, you should be reading Ben Hatke's books. Like, now.
Lucky for you, this hits stores TOMORROW SEPTEMBER 5TH, I know which month I'm in, really. O_O

*And shout out to Alex Campbell and Hilary Sycamore on the gorgeous coloring for this series!

Don't want to take my word for it? Check out others' thoughts on the rest of the Mighty Jack blog tour! Or watch Ben talk about creativity and shenanigans to Paste magazine here!


ABOUT THE BOOK:
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke
Adventure, Fairy Tale Retelling; 207 pages
September 5th 2017 by First Second

The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It'll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack's family, and bring them all safely home again.

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia's House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. benhatke.com



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