[Review Copy Courtesy of University of Minnesota Press.]
“To defeat a troll, you must draw on the very best of your humanity: you must have courage, patience, intelligence, kindness, the ability to work with others, and plenty of Moxie.” -Lise Lunge Larsen, from Seven Ways to Trick a Troll
In Seven Ways to Trick a Troll, Larsen and Vick take the framework of classic, mainly Scandinavian tales and add their own expertise. The result is that we are given beautifully illustrated and immensely entertaining stories that impart timeless wisdom to help even the very young tackle modern problems.
Seven Ways to Trick a Troll is 96 pages of seven beautifully illustrated and expertly crafted stories about how people use their intelligence to find a troll’s weakness, exploit said weakness, and emerge from a difficult situation victorious. These stories are enchanting, extraordinarily well-told, and exciting. It is so much fun to read with your little ones that it’ll quickly become a favorite.
Each of the seven stories are related but independent of each other — so you can read the whole book in one long sitting, read one chapter a night, or like my kiddos enjoy — randomly picking one story and then fixating on that story until they’re ready to move on.
The suspense in each story is so well told that it has my children squealing when the actions to trick the troll are put into motion. The resourcefulness, the durability, and resilience of our heroes and heroines is fantastic and affirming. There’s an underlying message that when something bad happens to you, look for how to adapt, be flexible, and persevere.
I’m most impressed with how Seven Ways to Trick a Troll transports its readers into this magical world of trolls. Everything from the way the stories are structured to the way your eyes follow the illustrations through the book grab the readers’ attention and draw them in. There’s a very comforting sense of right and wrong — the good people are so good and the trolls are so wicked — that it brings a refreshing simplicity to how to deal with nasty trolls.
In many ways, it feels like trolls are rearing their terrible selves again these days. Or maybe they’re just easier to see? I don’t know. But Seven Ways to Trick a Troll is almost like wearing a pair of goggles that lets you see these more amorphous trolls for what they are and then equip its readers with the knowledge that all trolls -whether in the fjords of Norway or in the comment sections of the internet — have their weaknesses. You’re then given strategies for sticking up for yourself and those you love. This book is as timely as it is timeless.
But these are all side effects of a lot of hard work of master storytellers — both the writer and the artist — because Seven Ways to Trick a Troll is all about fun, adventure, and excitement.
The recommended ages is 8 to 12 — but don’t tell that to my four-year-old son who is completely enthralled with the stories. I assumed that his attention span wouldn’t be long enough for these stories, because he’s an active and bouncy kid, but these stories ground him to the spot.
We’ve been reading this book fairly regularly for the past year and then I bought another copy for my nephews. This book has serious staying power. I love this book so much I keep getting tripped up writing the review, because nothing I say feels like it does it justice. Look for it and read it for yourself, I think you’ll see what I mean.
Recommended Ages 8 to 12. University of Minnesota Press. October 2017. 96 pages. ISBN: 978-0816699773 Fiction.
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Author and Artist Websites:
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. But I also bought a copy if that means anything. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”