Okay, “they” say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover…but this book had this perplexed and slightly scared pink bunny on the cover next to two kids and an amulet. Color me intrigued. Thankfully, the book lived up the cool cover and then went beyond that coolness to deliver an engaging adventure with Emily, her little brother Navin, and their mom.
The book opens with a heartbreaking family tragedy and even though I’d just been introduced to Emily’s dad, losing him within the first 10 pages was horrible. This terrible event cause Emily’s mom to pack up her two kids and move to their great-grandfather’s house. It becomes clear quickly that this is not just any house. It’s too simple to say it’s haunted, but there are otherworldly inhabitants. While poking around, Emily stumbles upon an amulet. Which, we later find out, can talk and has a spirit and mind (and agenda, it would seem) of its own.
Soon, Exciting (and Scary) Things Happen, and Emily’s mom gets taken by a large deranged octopus looking creature and Emily and Navin go after her to save her. In the process, they meet Miskit (the bunny from the cover!) and the rest of their great-grandfather’s mechanical coterie, who help Em and Navin get their mom back. Along the way, they learn they’re in a different world, with different rules, and a whole political structure that’s currently in a state of unrest. Most of this book is laying the groundwork for this world and Kazu Kibiuchi does it beautifully.