In Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Hilda has a magical adventure in the wilderness where she lives in a small, isolated house. Every day there are new things to do and discover...until she and her mother move to the city, Trolberg. Hilda wants to explore but her mother is scared of the city and doesn't want Hilda to wander away on her own. When some kids from school let Hilda join their group, at first she thinks everything will be fine. Her mom is happy she's with friends and she can explore the city. But her new "friends" aren't as interesting as she'd hoped and Hilda gets plunged into a scary adventure that slowly blossoms into a magical evening and a new friendship between Hilda and her mother.
There are so many things to love about this story. First, the colors follow the plot; the beginning is earth colors, brown, orange, red as Hilda begins to explore the city in the daylight. When Hilda leaves her "friends" and goes off to explore on her own, the colors dim to grays and finally to a dark and creepy blue-gray. As the magic of the parade takes over, the oranges and red come back and glow brighter and brighter until Hilda and her mother experience the night magic of the city in a blaze of fiery color.
Second, I loved the unconventional friendships. There's no stereotypical point where Hilda and the other kids figure out they both have things to offer and can make new friends. Hilda knows she's different and celebrates her difference; she doesn't need the convention, boredom, and cruelty of the other kids. Although she and her mother have some arguments, they both work things out and their relationship grows and changes by the end of the story.
Third, giant magical birds. I need say no more.
Verdict: This won't be for every kid, but those that love the magical and unique will devour this imaginative fantasy and delight in the art and story. If you only buy one series for the minority, buy this.
ISBN: 9781909263062; Published May 2013 by Nobrow Press; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library