By Kazu Kibuishi
After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.
Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.
This is a graphic novel pointed at elementary aged children (6-12 years). I never would have picked this up if I hadn’t repeatedly seen it being checked out at the library where I work. It was so popular it got me curious. It’s a quick read with good illustrations. The story is more adult than I was expecting, dealing with loss, responsibility, and grief along with battling magical and mechanical creatures. It was interesting to me, and had the same kind of feel of a sort of Alice in Wonderland, but darker and without the overt whimsy in it. Emily is a very serious young girl who feels the burden of being the oldest and watching out for her brother and mother now that her Dad is gone. I can understand why it is so popular, and I have a nephew who doesn’t necessarily love reading, and he grabbed onto this series and devoured it and got his friends reading it too, which tickled me pink! It’s a great book to pick up for reluctant readers.
I give it a 3.25 out of 5