Hubert is an extraordinary child who is both incredibly clever and surprisingly responsible for his age. The answer to how Hubert became the marvel of a child that he is today has its origins in his parents’ blatantly irresponsible behaviour.
Lauren Child returns with the Bobton-Trents, Hubert’s family, who are remarkably well off; living in a sprawling mansion, dining out and entertaining constantly. While they are engaged with their flamboyant behaviours, Hubert shows his exceptional talent at remaining unbored through activities such as wood carving, flamenco dancing, piano tuning and even staring-out-of-the-windowing. A side effect of Hubert being self-reliant means he often notices things that his parents don’t, which is fortunate when the Bobton-Trents’ family life is upended by the expected arrival of guests who fail to materialise (or do they?). Coupled with this are strange rumblings in the Bobton-Trent mansion and mysterious torn letters that Hubert finds, this is truly a story that will leave you in awe of Hubert and somewhat befuddled by grownups in general.
Child’s familiar sketches and collage work are prominent and bounce the story along, but Child also plays with text art in lengthy word definitions and the author’s notes. Child acknowledges that this story gave her an immense satisfaction to create. The story structure is tangential enough to be constantly dynamic and yet this is a book that can be opened at any page and returned to again and again, providing visual and storytelling delights.