Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nobody Likes a Goblin

Nobody Likes a Goblin

Ben Hatke
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
First Second, 2016   ISBN: 978-1626720817

Deep underground, in a dungeon, a goblin wakes up. He light the torches, feeds the rats, chews on an old boot for breakfast, and then goes to the Treasure Room to visit Skeleton, who is his best friend. Goblin and Skeleton have a wonderful time in the Treasure Room, as they always do, and Goblin is trying on Skeleton’s crown when he hears the sound of “boots on stone.”

Adventurers storm the dungeon and Goblin hides under his bed. When they are gone, Goblin discovers that the adventurers have taken everything, including Skeleton. Goblin cannot stand by while his friend is kidnapped and so he sets off to retrieve Skeleton. He asks a troll neighbor about Skeleton who tells Goblin that the adventurers have taken Skeleton (and the Troll’s pet duck which they also stole) to the mountains. He warns Goblin to be careful because “Nobody likes a goblins.”

Goblin soon discovers that the troll was right. No one likes goblins. He is pursued by an irate farmer, and then by a pack of furious elves as well. He manages to catch up with the adventurers and steals Skeleton back, but now he has the adventurers, and the elves, and the farmer all chasing after him.

This wonderfully drawn and engaging picture book offers us a rather unlikely hero. Typically green-skinned goblins are the antagonists in tales, but in this case the goblin is a hapless victim who just wants to save his friend. He risks everything to save Skeleton, and in the process he gains something very precious indeed, which is just how it should be.