In the third volume of the quaint adventures of the inhabitants of Hotel Strange, the focus is on Kiki, a floating, purple, fluffy creature. Kiki is not overly fond of work, so when he discovers a crown and scepter in the forest and is hailed as King of the Mushrooms, he is delighted. Kiki enjoys ordering his new subjects and friends about, but when he discovers there’s more to being a king and something dangerous is on the move, will his friends still help him or will Hotel Strange—and the Mushroom Kingdom—be destroyed?

The fourth volume of Hotel Strange focuses on yet another of the odd inhabitants, the ghostly Mr. Snarf. Mr. Snarf, although he’s not very chatty, is a loved member of the staff and does an excellent job as receptionist. So why have some determined ghosts appeared and taken Mr. Snarf away? The staff of Hotel Strange set out to rescue Mr. Snarf, entering a strange, spooky world where they have to depend on some unexpected help to rescue their friend.

The Ferriers’ art remains colorful and quirky, re-introducing readers to the main characters and also adding new creatures. Rosy-cheeked mushroom people, their heads topped by colorful mushrooms, spooky, self-righteous ghosts, and cute but creepy bugs populate the pages of this woodland fantasy. Reminiscent of the art and stories of Jansson’s Moomins, Hotel Strange remains unique with a plethora of forest creatures, natural beauty, and gentle, slightly spooky stories with a touch of humor.

These latest volumes lightly touch on morals, like being responsible, brave, and friendly, but are mostly just for amusement and wonder. Whether readers have encountered the inhabitants of Hotel Strange before or not, they will be happy to delve into the latest volume and explore the world of Hotel Strange. The quiet stories won’t have the universal appeal of popular series like Bone or Amulet, but younger readers who want something light and funny to read and fans of Hildafolk and the Moomins will happily curl up with this series. Larger collections or those assured of an audience will want to purchase the whole series in library bound editions while smaller collections or those not sure of the interest may try a paperback or two and see if there’s interest in their library.

Hotel Strange, vol 3: His Royal Majesty of the Mushrooms
ISBN: 9781512411546
Hotel Strange, vol 4: The Ghosts in the Clouds
ISBN: 9781467785877
by Katherine and Florian Ferrier
Lerner Graphic Universe, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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