The book reminds me a little bit of Peanuts' big-headed characters getting into humorous, albeit not always happy, situations. The spirit of the characters is preserved as much as it can be; however, a few of the sharper edges have been shaved off, and the villains are not as obsessed with causing the end times, so much as they are with acquiring a bigger cardboard fort for themselves.
There are some rather dark allusions to the main Hellboy cannon, and a rather clever dream sequence evokes a more mature tone that kids might miss, but the adults reading it with them probably won't.
The most distinct and clever thing about Itty Bitty Hellboy is that it stands in stark contrast to the original; it is bright, humorous, and fluffy and yet still manages to evoke some of the rather grim tone of the original books.
The art is colorful and simple and yet polished to a fine sheen. If a five year old had years of artist training under his belt, this is what he’d draw like.
Unfortunately, this is not a book that people outside the Mignola-verse may truly enjoy. To understand many of the references and character interactions, you have to be somewhat familiar with the world of Hellboy. Despite having read most of the series, I found myself struggling to identify certain characters or jokes.
Moreover, the book is fun, but that’s all it is, and all you can expect it to be. There is no deep mythical commentary to be found here.
If you are a big Hellboy fan or have kids you want to introduce to him, this book will suit you well.