The Goblin Twins

by Frances Cha (Author) Jaime Kim (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Two 601-year-old goblin tricksters from Korea go on an unexpected Halloween adventure in New York City in this tongue-in-cheek story from Frances Cha, critically acclaimed author of If I Had Your Face, and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Jaime Kim. 

Doki and Kebi are two Korean magical goblin twin brothers who couldn't be more different! Kebi loves to scare people (maybe a little too much) and explore! Doki would rather give people bags of gold when he's not reading a book! Despite their differences, Doki and Kebi are inseparable. When it's time for the goblin tricksters to move, the brothers decide to make their new home together in a strange, unknown land...New York City! As they prepare for the new customs of Halloween, Doki and Kebi are in for a surprise in this new holiday adventure inspired by the Korean mythology of dokkaebi.

"A sweet, comical Halloween venture for all." - Kirkus Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews

A sweet, comical Halloween venture for all.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

At 601 years old, Doki and Kebi are considered babies to the other dokkaebi, a cross between a goblin and spirit with a penchant for tricking humans. Despite the fact that they are twins, the pair could not be more different. For instance, Doki is averse to frightening people, much preferring to give them gifts of gold or silver and enjoy his three abandoned books. Kebi, meanwhile, arguably adores frightening people a bit too much. After learning that they must leave their home, Kebi resists moving into graveyards with their fellow dokkaebi and insists that they find the most haunted house in New York City. They leave Seoul, searching high and low for the perfect home and eventually find a dwelling that is perfectly suited to both of their tastes. Then they prepare for Halloween. The story's comical conclusion is a frightful delight as the duo participate in the holiday. Cha's writing is excellently paced and entertaining, while the digital illustrations are filled with bright colors and bring the charming characters to life. A concluding author's note describes the prominence of dokkaebi in Korean art, history, and folklore, dating back to 37 BCE. VERDICT. Doki and Kebi will find a home in any collection. Recommended for purchase.—Olivia Gorecke

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

At 601 years old, two goblin twins, considered by other dokkaebi as "babies, and very silly ones, too," are quite different from each other. Orange-hued with a single horn, Doki "did not like scaring people," preferring to offer gifts and to read books. Blue, two-horned Kebi "liked scaring people a bit too much. And he loved to explore," Cha writes. Learning that the abandoned house they live in will soon be demolished, the twins head for a place where people visit haunted houses desiring to be frightened--and land in New York City. Portrayed with intensely saturated color that adds depth and dimensionality, Kim's digital illustrations of the siblings' house-hunt supply movement and humor to their ongoing debates over what kind of new home to choose and how to decorate for Halloween. It all leads to their amusing final reaction to a horde of trick-or-treaters. Based in Korean lore, this read's a treat any day of the year. An author's note concludes. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


Cartoony digital illustrations give the dokkaebi-shown as colorful, blobby, rosy-cheeked tricksters-personality and provide funny, scene-setting details. 

Review quotes

Frances Cha
A former culture and travel reporter for CNN in Seoul and Hong Kong, Frances taught at Ewha Womens University and Yonsei University. Currently, she teaches undergraduate fiction at Columbia University. Frances's debut novel If I Had Your Face (Ballantine Books) was named one of the best books of the year by Time, NPR, BBC, and Esquire.

Jaime Kim was born and raised in Korea before moving to the United States. Her illustrated book Take Heart, My Child was a #1 New York Times bestseller. She has illustrated many books for young readers, including Ready for the Spotlight!, which was her debut as an author and illustrator. She works with gouache, watercolors, acrylics, and digital tools to create nostalgic and dreamlike illustrations inspired by childhood memories of her family, as well as movies, art, and the outside world.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV017030 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Halloween
JUV052000 - Juvenile Fiction | Monsters
JUV012060 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, Fables | Asian
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Mythology, Korean

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