Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Secret History of Hobgoblins

The Secret History of Hobgoblins

Ari Berk
Illustrator:  Gary Chalke , Alan Lee , Larry MacDougall , Fernando Molinari 
Novelty Book
For ages 9 and up
Candlewick, 2012   ISBN: 978-0763652234

Long ago a special organization called The Order of the Golden Quills was formed to preserve the history, lore, and traditions of the Huldur, or Secret Folk. The Order now has a considerable amount of information about giants, merfolk, and other races who choose not to be seen by humans. In this book the history and lore of one of these races, the Hearth Folk or Hobgoblins, is explored.

Throughout history, humans have lived side by side with hobgoblins. Humans who were wise knew that these folk play an important role in making sure that a household is happy. The humans did their part to ensure that the hobgoblins living in their homes were suitably honored and thanked, for hobgoblins, if treated well, do many tasks around the house.

Unfortunately, these days, people tend to be in too much of a hurry. Sometimes they do not take care of their homes as they should, which greatly bothers hobgoblins. In addition, they do not properly appreciate that it is important to maintain The Laws of Hospitality. It is not wise not to adhere to these ancient rituals and obligations, because hobgoblins have two sides. Hobs are gentle and kindly folk who care for the home and the people and animals who live there. If hobgoblins are not treated with the respect that is their due, they turn into goblins, which are unpleasant and often destructive creatures.

Hobgoblins are found in all parts of the world and have been given many different names. They also inhabit a variety of places including houses, barns, and ruins. Within these places, they are particularly fond of making their nests and camps in kitchens though private areas in other parts of the house are also used. In modern apartments, spaces behind washers and dryers are highly prized, which is why socks have a habit of disappearing. They make excellent bedding material.

As readers peruse this book, they will not only read about hobgoblin ways, but they will also find out about the different kinds of hobgoblins that there are, and read stories in which they play a part. What is clear, or should be, is that hobgoblins represent a way of life that people are forgetting about. Perhaps if we humans follow their example to be kind, generous, and thoughtful, we will be able to make our world a happier, more civilized place.

This remarkable volume is a must for anyone who has an interest in the Secret Folk. Packed with information, gorgeous illustrations, and multimedia offerings, it is a book that will enlighten and entertain readers.

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