HOB AND THE GOBLINS by William Mayne


Age Range: 10 & up
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 Hob is a helpful household presence, fond of babies and, less often, also visible to children; unfortunately, he has greedily donned clothes given him by a grateful human and can't adopt a new home until he gets rid of them. He boards a London bus and, still encumbered by his hat, is powerless to counter the mischief of its resident Gremlin. The Gremlin absconds with both bus and hat, setting Hob free but causing driver Charlie's dismissal, and Hob joins Charlie's family in their move to Fairy Ring Cottage, left by Charlie's great-uncle. The move is not felicitous; a neighbor is a witch and the uncle a sorceror, entrapped beneath the cottage with a pot of gold coveted by a Goblin King of such power that Hob is sure combatting him will mean his own end. Still, it's his nature to try to save his family from the evils that now surface. In short paragraphs and the simplest of sentences, Mayne conjures up a friendly spirit whose worldview is childlike yet enchantingly un-human. Hob is of all times and none, loves his present comforts (including a cup of tea) but is vague about past and future, communes with inanimates (each of unique character: ``Hob had to deal with Hole, who came in on a shoe and began to nest in a carpet. Hole went to live in a road with workmen to feed him...''); he's incapable of forethought but knows where menace lies and is determined to defeat it. And so he does, in a ripsnorter of a conclusion with the Gremlin reappearing on another bus. Both comical and suspenseful, a tour de force from one of Britain's greats; a perfect companion to Cooper's The Boggart (1993) and Diana Wynne Jones's ebullient fantasies. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56458-713-4
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: DK Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1994


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