Aurora is a beguiling performer to watch because her sincerity comes through with everything she does–from her hand gestures, to the power of her voice, to the intensity of her face, which only relaxes when the song is truly over.
All three songs are just her accompanied by an acoustic guitarist (who sings backing vocals).
“Runaway” is a beautiful song of despair: “I can’t take it anymore…but I kept running for a soft place to fall.”
Between songs she seems completely moved by her words. Once she composes herself, she has a nice chat with everyone. Then she says she’s going to scream a bit high, “is that fine?” Interestingly, her loud is not as loud as many other singers who don’t ask permission.
“Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)” begins with her beautifully singing “5,4,3,2,1.” And then the song gets pretty dark and a little disturbing. For she is killed in the first line of the song, and she is so passionate about it she sways and moves her hands in time with the “Oh oh ohs.” I think things somehow work out though–it’s a little hard to parse.
“Running with the Wolves” has a pretty spooky chorus of the two of them singing the title in falsetto. She’s pretty intense as she sings this song, making varied emotional faces. And the fact that she looks to be about 12 makes them seem even more intense.
I found watching her to be a bit disconcerting, and I’d love to know more about her. There were many parts of her songs that I liked a lot. And I’m curious to hear what she’d sound like with full instrumentation.
[READ: September 9, 2016] Nobody Likes a Goblin
I wrote this about Hatke’s previous picture book (which I loved), Julia’s House for Lost Creatures:
I don’t normally write about kids’ picture books (if I did my whole blog would be about them as we read so many). But this one gets a special mention because a) it was published by First Second and b) I love Ben Hatke’s drawing style so much.
Hatke has drawn books for slightly older kids, but he also does sweet (and slightly weird) books like this for littler kids.
This book really shows that nobody likes a goblin (even if he is creepy cute).
Goblin woke one day and went to talk to his friend, Skeleton. They are having a lovely time when they are beset upon by Adventurers storming the dungeon!
One thing I loved about this book is that the Goblin is drawn in a very simple, kid-friendly style: big eyes, a jagged mouth. But the adventurers are drawn practically like superheroes–colorful and detailed and even brightly lit. In any other book we would be cheering for them.
But these adventurers steal everything from the dungeon. Including Skeleton!
So Goblin sets out and the story takes the form of other adventure type stories for kids. Goblin goes for a walk and meets Troll (who looks a bit like a Maurice Sendak Wild Thing). Troll tells Goblin where to find Skeleton but then says to be careful because nobody like a goblin.
I assumed that Goblin would encounter several friendly people telling him to be careful until he got to the end, but Hatke plays with the convention wonderfully. The next person who Goblin encounters is a farmer. And indeed, he does not like a goblin and proceeds to chase him. Goblin runs through the village and others join the chase.
But the chase leads him right to the adventuress, where he finds Skeleton. The end. But no, not at all, Hatke has more up his sleeve, because the adventurers are not going to give up. What’s a goblin to do?
The ending is very funny and delightfully sweet.
I have a few questions about the story which are not criticism, just questions. Why do the adventurers have that young, pretty girl tied up with their loot? I’d love to know more about that. And where did the adorable ghost come from? He’s so cute, but he just happened upon the commotion and wanted to help out?
I love a story that you can really pore over the pictures and imagine so many other things going on. And I love so much about the new crop of First Second children’s books. #10yearsof01