Hilda and the Midnight Giant, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow Press, April 17, 2012, ages eight and up, 40 pages) is another fine addition to the growing body of graphic novels with boy appeal that feature a strong girl. Yay!
Hilda and her mother live in an isolated house, high up the in the hills...but it's not as isolated as they seem. Tiny notes have begun appearing, telling them to vacate the premises immediately...and it turns out that their house was built smack dab in the middle of an town of invisible elves!
After filling out the requisite paperwork with the help of a sympathetic elf, Hilda's eyes are opened to the dense settlement around her...but will she be able to convince the elves in power to let her and her mother stay in their home without further trouble?
Complicating things is the mysterious giant who begins to appear outside, keeping a rendezvous agreed on four thousand years ago. Hilda's pluck and determination, and an unintended consequence of the gigantic visitation, bring things to a satisfactory conclusion.
Hilda's is a fantastical world--though the elves might be invisible, other strange beings are not. There's no violent action or stirring adventure--just a journey into the magical shared with the reader, involving a bit of a struggle with elvish bureaucracy, as well as the more tense encounters of with the giant, and the mystery of his purpose. The muted tones of the illustrations (most of the action happens at night) give a dream-like quality to Hilda's encounters with the magic around her.
There's nothing here not suitable for the younger reader, although thematically the upper elementary kid, even on into middle school, might appreciate it more. It captured the interest of my own older reader (and my own interest) just fine (even though I think that Hilda is not drawn as engagingly, as, say, Zita the Space Girl; but then,who is?)
Other thoughts at Jean Little Library, The Comics Journal (although the second page spread shown is from Hildafolk, Luke Pearson's first book, which looks lovely), the Islington Comic Forum ("this is a children's book for children and there's not much to be found within it's pages for anyone over the age of 12. Yeah - that sounds harsh." To which I say, "harsh" isn't how it sounds to me. More like irrelevant.)