The calendar says it's spring, but winter weather won't end. What's happening? The quirky residents of Hotel Strange go on a quest to find out.
Younger readers on the lookout for low-key, cheerful adventure might consider checking into the Hotel Strange, starting with this series opener from French artist Katherine Ferrier and her husband, Florian. The denizens of the Alpine-style Hotel Strange are rattled when guests show up before the hotel opens for spring. It is spring, they learn, despite the fact that it's still snowy and cold outside. Mr. Spring must be found he's still asleep somewhere. The many monsters that make up the hotel's staff and guests recall the menagerie of Miyazaki's Spirited Away. A human girl, Marietta, runs the hotel assisted by Kiki, a kind of ghost/teddy bear hybrid who's always hungry. "Let us in, we have reservations!" cry the furry, misshapen guests who wait outside; they're be-horned, be-antlered, and bundled up in knit scarves and caps. Brief episodes advance the plot by inches while introducing new characters and diversions, while colorful panels provide views of snowy mountains, winter storms, and romantic sunsets. Mr. Spring, it turns out, is unexpectedly close by. This hotel is likely to earn repeat business. Ages 7 11.