Review - Where's My Shoggoth?

Fans of Cthulu (and H.P. Lovecraft) know who shoggoth is. He's a monster created by the Elder Things who can take on any shape needed. Odds are you don't know where he is and that's the question being answered in Where's My Shoggoth?, a new illustrated children's book from Archaia Studios.

Where's My Shoggoth? is written by Ian Thomas and illustrated by Adam Bolton.

A young boy is doing what young boys are apt to do with their pets. He wants to take his shoggoth for a walk. The only problem is that his shoggoth has escaped, which leads to the boy traveling through a variety of locales to find him. What follows is an imaginative journey involving some of history's most famed creatures.

Thomas has written a very simple yet elegant story. Every encounter with a creature features a sing-song explanation of the creature and why that particular one isn't his shoggoth. Every encounter ends with the phrase "where's my shoggoth," alerting the reader that the quest isn't complete.

The rhythmic cadence of the story really helps you to go along with the boy as he looks for his pet. It adds in a little bit of Dr. Seuss to what could otherwise be scary subject material for kids and it works alarmingly well. The explanations are insanely catchy.

Bolton's art is equally as imaginative and endlessly more intricate. While Thomas relies on seemingly simple rhymes to move the story along, Bolton has created very complex artistic settings that teem with eerie life. These settings represent the entire trip that the boy is taking to find his shoggoth and all of them are quite elaborate in presentation.

The boy himself blends in perfectly as well. The entire artistic feel is reminiscent of Braid in a way. It's not quite as impressionistic, but there's still this sense of the world around the boy acting as a character and a puzzle to solve. These are some beautifully rendered scenes that could easily double as standalone posters without the text if they wanted to.

Since this is an Archaia production, you know the presentation will also be top-notch. While the book is $11.95, it's 56-pages bound as a full-color, 8" x 8" hardcover. It's a book you'll happily put on your child's shelf alongside Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuess and anything Sandra Boykin writes. This is a book that would make Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein proud.

Yes, Where's My Shoggoth? is technically a children's book. That doesn't make it any less fascinating to read as an adult or any less enjoyable. It's a very creative and adventurous tale about a boy looking for his monster, but the concepts of loyalty and friendship manage to transcend the monster involvement. Read the book and enjoy, knowing that the version of Chutes and Ladders board included is so much more haunting than the original version.

Where's My Shoggoth? is in comic stores now and in stores everywhere October 1.