Nobody Likes a Goblin, by Ben Hatke

The arrival of a new book by Ben Hatke is always a happy thing in my house.  Even though my boys are several years beyond the ostensible target audience age for picture books, and I am too, we all enthusiastically read his latest offering, Nobody Likes a Goblin (First Second, June 7, 2016), and enjoyed it very much.  There's something just so friendly and pleasing about his art, and when paired with a good story, it's all just as nice a read (and look) as all get out.

A goblin lives a peaceful subterranean life in a dungeon with his best friend, a skeleton, not doing any harm to anyone.  Then adventures invade, in true Adventuring style, and plunder, while the poor goblin hides under his bed. When he emerges he finds all the dungeons' treasure is gone, but much much worse, the adventurers have taken Skeleton too!  So Goblin sets off to find his friend, and to find the "honk honk" stolen from his troll neighbor, despite the troll's warning that "nobody likes a goblin."

And he finds that this is indeed the case.  Chased by a farmer, an innkeeper, a band of elves, and the original adventurers, Goblin finds shelter in a cave, where he finds that there are those who like goblins lots--other goblins! 

And now its the adventurers et al. who are on the run, and Goblin brings all his new friends (including a young woman the adventurers had tied up in their spoil heap) and his old friend Skeleton back to the dungeon for happily ever after.

The goblins are portrayed in  suitably non-human ways, in various permutations of the monstrous, but still manage to have just tons of appeal, some being downright adorable.  The party of adventurers, on the other hand, are pretty much the clichés one expects, and it's nice to see them losing!   It was good to see the young woman who was tied up as part of the loot getting a bit of retaliatory smiting in once the goblins had surged out of their cave to attack.  (The troll's goose gets to attack too, which I also appreciated).

It's a rather inspiring story, not just for the obvious inspiration of finding the courage to save a friend part.  There also the message that even if you feel alone, and people are mean to you for no good reason, there's a good chance that somewhere there's a tribe of friends for you (yay for finding "your people"), and (one can hope) a good chance that the jerks will cease to matter. 

Here's the Kirkus review, in case you want independent confirmation that this is a good book.

disclaimer: review copy gratefully received from the publisher


  1. This book sounds perfectly charming. Thanks for telling me about it. It is going on my TBR list now.

  2. We are also Ben Hatke fans, and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book in our library!


Free Blog Counter

Button styles