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The Picture Book Buzz

Julia's House Moves On - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I fell in love with Ben Hatke's book, Julia's House for Lost Creatures, when it released in 2014. After all who wouldn't love a young girl who "fosters" a Patched Up Kitty, a soggy troll, four folletti, and a myriad of other "lost" creatures. The great news is that it is shortly going to be a three-part picture book series.

I'm so excited for today's #PPBF post, because I get to show you all a sneak peek at one of my favorite author/illustrator's newest book. It comes out next Tuesday, September 29th.

Julia's House Moves On

Author/Illustrator: Ben Hatke

Publisher: First Second (2020)




Moving, friendship, kindness, and letting go.


Julia and her house full of fantastic friends are back for another sweet adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ben Hatke in Julia's House Moves On. Julia's house is restless. Julia and her family of lost creatures are ready to move on. But where will they go? And how will they get there? Don’t worry—Julia has a plan for that! Julia always has a plan. But when Julia's plans all fail... What's left for her?

Opening Lines:

Julia's House was for lost creatures of every kind.

But the house was getting restless.

It was time to move on.

Everyone could feel it.

What I LOVED about this book:

In the first book, Julia combats a quiet, lonely house with a plan to offer sanctuary to "lost creatures." When the house overflows, with noise and mess, Julia's careful plan of chores sets it all right. Planning and organization save the day.

This time, as a ghillie (sort of a mossy hedgehog) arrives - and is quickly & tenderly welcomed in to the "family" - Julia, her friends, and the house are getting restless, cranky, and out of sorts. It's time for a change of scenery. And true to form, Julia has a plan. I love Ben's use of creative insets throughout the book, allowing him to supply the reader with information, while still having glorious full-page spreads.

© Ben Hatke, 2020.

Despite Julia's careful plan, it turns out the "foundation"/support of the house had other ideas . . .

© Ben Hatke, 2020.

If you haven't read the first book, or looked closely at the cover, this might have been a bit of a surprise. In the first of a series of catastrophes, Julia's house is set adrift in the ocean. As water fills the house, Julia announces a plan. Everyone, except the Patched Up Kitty and ghost (even a rubber ducky), jumps overboard and tries to push the house. However, the arrival of fins, causes everyone to jump back into the quickly sinking house.

Never fear, Julia has a plan. Blowing Triton's horn, she summons a kraken - which dispatches the sharks, but makes things "worse than ever." None of her plans have helped; in fact, they've each created greater problems. As she watches her friends paddle away, Julia releases her plans . . .

© Ben Hatke, 2020.

and discovers that relinquishing control can let others make a plan. (Take a peek at Ben's interview this Monday to see part of the initial rescue.)

The next four spreads are simply stunning. Luminous images of the Queen of the Sea and Julia's mythical friends which culminate in the sweet little ghillie saving the day. In repayment to Julia and the others for their kindness in giving it a home. Using wordless (or nearly wordless) spreads and perfect page turns, Ben's softly pastel illustrations gently increase the tension and Julia's desperation, until Julia learns that it's okay not to always have a plan.

In a nod to the upcoming third book, a spot illustration on the end page shows Julia exchanging her kerchief, flowing hair, and apron for a crisp braid, uniform, satchel, and spyglass. I am really excited to see what comes next in the third book of this series. This magical adventure will draw kids in and show them that moving and change can be good things. It is a wonderful book about kindness, friendship, weathering the bumps and storms which occur through life, the excitement of seeing somewhere new, and learning to occasionally go with the flow.


- try going on a walk, without a plan for the route, did you find any surprises?

- check with a local shelter, do they need blankets, toys, food, or reading buddies for their animals.

- make a "scribble drawing" with someone else. Draw a small, quick scribble on a paper. Hand the paper to the other person. They add another scribble to the paper. Pass it back and forth until you have a drawing.

If you missed my interview with Ben Hatke on Monday, read it here.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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