Summer Reading: Hilda and The Midnight Giant (English)

August 1st, 2014

hamgIt’s about midsummer here, and the weather has been unnaturally pleasant, so I’ve been outside playing, rather than curling up in the A/C. As a result I’m hugely behind on my reading, but…no regrets. Getting to take long walks in the Northeast woodlands of the USA is as good for my soul as reading comics. ^_^

But, when I get a chance to read a really unique, fun, kid-friendly,  girl-friendly comic, you just know I have to share it with you!  Thanks to the fantastic Tucker Stone at Nobrow Press, I had the chance to read the delightful Hilda and the Midnight Giant.

Hilda and her Mom live outside the town. They seem to have a comfortable relationship, and Hilda is studious and dedicated. When it turns out that she and her mother are living in the middle of a civilization of small, invisible people, Hilda has to figure out how to make peace between her and and entire race of beings that consider her their enemy.

As Hilda wrestles with the politics of her neighbors, she also discovers a giant occupying the same valley. Her inquiries take her from the mayor of the local town through which she and her mother have been walking to the king of the civilization, while she tracks down the giant who comes by at night.

The adventure is, in a word, strange.

You could make a case for it being an allegory about people sharing space on the planet, but that’s not really what it’s about at all. ^_^ Hilda learns about bureaucracy and how being in the right place at the right time is as good as dedicated effort. It’s a life lesson that would serve many a young person well and for that reason alone, I’m inclined to recommend this book. But more importantly, it’s a rollicking, rattingly tale of little people and giants and has a wholly unexpected end. Really unexpected.

Luke Pearson’s writing is great. Hilda is a smart kid, she asks a lot of questions, but mostly the right questions…and she really processes the answers, to  come up with well thought out solutions. Mom speaks to Hilda like she’s a smart kid, so there’s none of that creepy condescending tone with which adults so often address kids. The art is, for lack of a better word “cartoony.” The giant is a tall, hairy column, the little people are small capsule-shaped creatures.  There’s no complex artistic rendering here, just straightforward, simple comic art. It’s the story that carries you along.

If you know a young comics reader, or a a child that you’d like to turn into a comics reader – especially if they love fairy-tale-like stories – this would be a great place to start them. Hilda isn’t a superhero, but she sure saves the day.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 9
Character – 8

Overall – A solid 8 and I hope to be able to read some of the other Hilda books in the future.

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