Friday 31 May 2013

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Week ending 31st May 2013 - "Hilda and the Midnight Giant" by Luke Pearson (Nobrow Press)

How would you feel if one day you found out that the seemingly ordinary world around you was actually anything but, and the simplest actions you carried out day to day had a massive effect on an entire civilisation of unseen folk.

In "Hilda and the Midnight Giant" we once again cozy up with Luke Pearson's utterly sublime golden girl. You may remember we reviewed Hildafolk a little while ago (and yes, that was also 'Book of the Week' with good reason) and swore we'd be back to visit her atmospheric and gorgeous bookworld again soon.

So here we are, and Midnight Giant is every bit as good as we hoped it would be - even better in fact.

As before with Hildafolk, Hilda and the Midnight Giant - and Hilda herself of course - feel like stories that were created to address the gaping hole in the market of comics that both children and adults can enjoy on an equal footing.

Perhaps it's because they work as standalone stories. Perhaps it's because Luke Pearson both illustratively and textually treats his audience as intelligent human beings rather than resorting to dumbing down and explaining scenarios piece by piece (something we do, thankfully, see in a lot of the children's comics we are currently hoovering up with great gusto).

Perhaps it's also because Hilda and the Midnight Giant has a delicious dark tinge, that doesn't use cheap scares or psychological trickery to put children ill at ease but dishes up whacking great big chunks of solid storytelling that keep you hanging on every page turn.

"The Midnight Giant" sees Hilda and her mum living a fairly idyllic existence until several nasty incidents occur. Someone is throwing stones through their window, wrapped in threatening notes. Something is deeply wrong and it takes Hilda to become the conduit between the petty acts of vandalism and an entire society who see Hilda, her mum and their house as a gigantic blot on their landscape.

With a little help from a certain little wooden friend (Charlotte really, REALLY loves the Woodman) and the magical involvement of the hidden folk who eventually (after much paperwork and bureaucracy) reveal themselves, Hilda embarks on a mission to try and achieve detente.

There is a story that segues neatly with this quest, and it's the story that gives this beautiful comic its name. Who is the midnight giant and why does he appear and disappear without saying anything? What is going on? With Hilda's gift for befriending magical beings, there's only one way to find out.

Touching, entertaining, brilliantly told and illustrated, it goes without saying that we have an absolute NEED to polish off the series with "Hilda and the Bird Parade" and I've a sneaking suspicion that Luke Pearson might well make it a 'book of the week' hat trick.

Charlotte's best bit: Aside from her utterly funny reactions every time the little wooden guy crops up, she had a favourite bit but I can't reveal it to you without spoiling the story massively (emphasis on the word 'massively' there). Go read! You'll see what we mean!

Daddy's favourite bit: I loved the digs at red tape, and the mayor's utter hopelessness in this (and of course the mayor's rather funky cat thing!)