Friday, November 28, 2014

The Troll With No Heart in His Body and The Terrible Troll-Bird (University of Minnesota Press and New York Review of Books)

The Troll With No Heart in His Body is a compilation of nine troll tales from Norway compiled and re-told by author Lisa Lunge-Larsen. In addition to the tale the book is named after, you will also see stories such as "Butterball," "The Boy and the North Wind," and the well known/personal favorite "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." The book begins with a note from the author, which includes the importance of folk tales, childhood memories of these Norse tales, and fifteen lessons she learned from these tales. Before she gets to the stories, she also includes a map, because when trolls die they help reshape the landscape around them.

Each story is written in large print and includes helpful features like pronunciations and BOLD font so you know when to make your troll voice loud and booming. At the end of each tale are two features. The first is the phrase, "Snip, snap, snout, This tale's told out!" This is a cute translation of a Norse phrase and is a nice touch. The second feature at the end of the tales is a little side box of text, which tells the origin of the story and what the author changed in the story (if anything). The illustrations have an old world feel to them, as they are beautiful woodcuts that seem so appropriate for this style of book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially if you are a family with Scandinavian or if you just want to expose your children to quality literature. The book could have stood alone on its own with the stories, but the gorgeous illustrations complete it; making it a favorite around my household for both children and adults.

The Terrible Troll-Bird is another Norse book from the authors and illustrators Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. The story focuses on Ola and his three sisters, Lina, Sina, and Trina. They are off to go get firewood one day when they spied an enormous troll-bird. The natural reaction was fear, but when they returned home they were able to slay the bird, cook it, and used its feathers for down. While cooking, trolls followed their nose and showed up. Fortunately, the sun was coming up about that time so no one was hurt/killed and the trolls were wiped out by the sun.

The illustrations are really the best aspect of this book. Some are color and some are black and white, but all of them are very harshly sketched out and felt very troll-like. Overall, the story was a little lacking, and while I'd recommend checking it out from the library, I wouldn't recommend owning it unless you found it on sale, your kids absolutely love everything troll-related, or you want to own all books by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.

These books were provided to me for free by University of Minnesota Press and New York Review of Books in exchange for honest reviews. If you found these reviews helpful, click here and/or here and hit Yes!