Cory and Poesy Doctorow take a look at Luke Pearson's beautifully-illustrated "Miyazaki-meets-Moomin" book, where grown-up lessons are woven into a kid-pleasing tale.

Last month, I posted a review of Luke Pearson and London's Flying Eye Books have fourth Hildafolk kids' graphic novel, Hilda and the Black Hound that I collaborated on with my daughter. As the book is out in the USA today, I'm reprising the review, which you can see below:

Like the earlier volumes (reviews: Hildafolk and Hilda and the Midnight Giant and Hilda and the Bird Parade), it's nothing less than magical, a Miyazaki-meets-Moomin story that is beautifully drawn and marvellously told.

In Hilda and the Black Hound, Hilda and her mom are now living in the big city, and Hilda's become a scout. But scouting and her relationship with her mom are both disrupted by the appearance of a huge, mysterious black hound that terrorizes the town — and this seems somehow related to the sudden explosion of homeless Nisse — house spirits who live in the cracks in the walls and behind bookshelves.

Like the other Hilda volumes, Black Hound deals with some important and serious themes, including compassion, fear and independence. And as in the other volumes, these themes are gracefully worked into the storyline in a way that pleases both kids and their grownups, as you can see from my daughter's review, above.

There's just enough scariness in this story to be delicious and thrilling; just enough pathos to make the happy ending shine. The Hilda comics are genuinely great. As with all Flying Eye books, the actual physical object matches the content for craftsmanship and beauty — an oversized hardcover with heavy pages and beautiful colors.

Hilda and the Black Hound