Judd Winick has kept his promise. Volume 2 of Hilo is coming out later this month, with a scheduled release date of May 17th.
Hilo has returned to Earth rather suddenly, and rather sooner than I would have expected. While I have been waiting on pins and needles for volume two of Winick’s brilliant all-ages book, based on the way that volume one ended, I was not expecting volume two to take place on Earth. But that is part of Hilo’s charm, both the robot boy and the book, the unexpected.
Hilo’s sphere of influence is expanding as is his group of friends. D.J. and Gina are joined by D.J.’s little sister, Lisa, and a talking magical ninja-cat from another dimension named Pollandra Pack Wallace Brimdale Korimako of the Mighty Furback Clan, or Polly for short. While Hilo’s love for belching seems to have taken a rest, Polly teaches the gang her tribe’s way of expressing friendship. On our world, we would call it “hocking a loogie.” Hilo has even taking to building friends, as he scavenges the remains of evil killer robots for parts to build new “people-friendly” robots.
D.J.’s role in this volume has been toned down considerably. The focus of the narrative shifts much more strongly to Hilo and the rest of the gang. D.J. himself has been relegated to being the readers’ view port through which we see the narrative unfold. What’s missing is the keen insight that we saw in volume one that betrayed D.J.’s otherwise hidden exceptional intelligence. Hopefully that will return in future volumes.
While volume one’s previous killer robot insects are not entirely gone, the main foes that our heroes have to face this time come in the strange forms of beings from other dimensions who are being sent here to Earth as part of vile plot to release Hilo’s nemesis, Razorwark, from his imprisonment. At the end of book one, while Hilo was offworld, he succeeded in trapping Razorwark in the void between dimensions. Razorwark is attempting to loosen the bonds that separate those dimensions little by little by somehow nudging other creatures from their home dimensions into ours. It kinda works if you try not to think about it too hard. It then falls on Hilo and his friends to send those beings back home as quickly as they arrive. In addition to this crisis, Hilo is beginning to unravel some of the secrets of his own past, and he is not pleased with what he is finding out.
This volume ends on another vicious cliffhanger that readers will have to wait until next year to see resolved.
Winick’s artwork is still charming with the looseness that one would expect from a cartoonist, but with just the right attention to detail that one needs in order to convey emotion through caricature. There is only one part in which the story gets lost in translation. During Hilo’s first battle with a bowling ball throwing evil robot from another dimension, there is a two page spread in which Hilo exhibits a brand new power. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to discern what is happening based on the visual information that we are given. Across a two-page spread, we see a series of images that are meant to convey Hilo demonstrating a new ability he didn’t know he had, which is usually the case with Hilo. But the images are just abstract enough that when I turned the page, it was because I was giving up. Fortunately, at the top of the next page, we are given a line of dialogue that explains what we just saw. But this is the only time that the narrative breaks down. The rest of the book is just as charming and even more touching than the first volume.
The tale of Hilo, the robot boy from another dimension is turning out to be a wonderful epic tale. Polly is silly. The monsters are kooky. Razorwark is creepy. And at the heart of the story is the bond of friendship that Hilo and D.J. share. While the climax of the book puts the boys through an emotional wringer that threatens to destroy that friendship. Even as the story notches up in excitement and tension, it is still a perfect fit for young readers.
Or to put it in terms Gina might use: I LIKE like this book.
Do you agree or disagree? Do you have any further insights you’d like to share? We welcome your comments. Feel free to take a moment and enter them below.
Hilo Book 2: Saving the Whole Wide World by Judd Winick
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Hilo (Book 2)
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 17, 2016)
"Hilo: Saving the Whole Wide World" by Judd Winick
The tale of Hilo, the robot boy from another dimension is turning out to be a wonderful epic tale. Polly is silly. The monsters are kooky. Razorwark is creepy. And at the heart of the story is the bond of friendship that Hilo and D.J. share.