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We currently have this book at home as a library book we've borrowed but I have to admit it is one I picked due to the author being well known for her work with the Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson). The illustrations are also eye catching and by David Roberts.
All the troll wants is to catch a goat but when a string of other creatures trip-trap over his bridge instead he's stuck with boring old fish for supper. Bother! Meanwhile Hank Chief and his pirate crew love fish but without a decent recipe between then, their slimy supper is even worse. If only they could find the buried treasure and afford to pay a ship's cook but it seems they've sailed to the wrong island. Again. Watch the fun unfold as these two world collide in a richly inventive gloriously comic tale.
Price and publisher
The book is printed by Macmillan and is priced £10.99.
The book is illustrated with a fine detail and the large pages are full of lots of eye catching and high quality drawing. The troll himself is fascinating green hairy little man with big yellow eyes and the pirate ship has great comedy within it like a washing line with knickers on it. Armed with his frying pan and cookery book the troll tries to find a goat to cook and eat but he's not having much luck and then the story takes a turn for the most interesting when the troll and pirates worlds collide.
The illustrations in this book are fantastic and will make most children look and enjoy the story being read to them. In hindsight I think I enjoyed reading this book more than my daughter who is perhaps a little bit young to fully appreciate the story and so it will go back to the library for now but I may revisit the book in a few year's time when she will enjoy hearing about the pirates and the troll.
My son was keen to take part in a summer holiday scheme going on at our local library called circus stars. I think it is probably a nationwide scheme but the basis of it is that you have to read six books from the library and after each book you get a small prize such as a bookmark or stickers and after you have read all six you get a medal and a certificate. One of the books that he chose and read today is called The troll.
The troll is written by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts. It is not a book that I am familiar with despite the fact that we own quite a few Julia Donaldson books such as The Gruffalo. The troll was published in 2009 by Macmillan children's books and the book that we borrowed from the library was a hardback with a recommended retail price of £10.99. Having looked on amazon I can advise that you can purchase the book in hardback from for £6.63 or in paperback for £3.60 both of which include free super saver delivery.
The troll tells the story of a troll who lives under a bridge which links well with the theme of the three billy goats gruff. As well as the troll we also meet some pirates who live on a ship and who are sailing around looking for treasure. The troll is supposed to eat goat but no goats ever come trip trapping over his bridge so he has to make do with eating fish which he doesn't really like at all. He is convinced by various small creatures and animals crossing his bridges that he should move to a different bridge where he is sure to find goats and so he does this with no luck until he stumbles across a beach and the treasure chest which the pirates have been searching for. Treasure has no value to the troll and so he empties the gold in to the sea and hopes to catch a goat in the now empty chest. When the pirates come along they are furious that there is no treasure and order the troll to walk the plank but then they realise that he is a good cook as he always has his frying pan with him and as they are terrible cooks they allow him to stay with them as their chef. The troll is delighted to be saved from walking the plank and wants to make goat stew but the pirates are disgusted-they want what pirates are supposed to eat...fish! And nothing but fish!
My son told me that his teacher had read the book to his class at school and so it had obviously made an impression on him to make him want to borrow it from the library. I can see why he liked the book too after he read it to me. The story is quite long really with a decent amount of text to read but my son managed fine with it, working out any tricky words as he went along. He is six but is a very able reader and so this is something to be aware of. The way in which the text is set out makes it look quite interesting in points with sections being bold or curved on the page which really grabs your interest as you look at the page.
I like how the story touches upon the story of the three billy goats gruff as it is something that I am familiar with and my son is too and so it helps drawn our interest in even further but it is different enough to the original story to keep your interest too.
What are particularly enjoyable about the book are the illustrations. They are very well drawn and detailed and so there is a lot to look at to keep your interest. My son is amused by the illustrations because the pirates are such terrible cooks that we see things such as fish bones in soup or eyeballs in fish cakes which he always makes a big fuss about!
The story is a decent read and one that I think most young children aged three to seven would enjoy. It is easy to read and has lots of fun names thrown in such as Hank Chief and Peg Polkadot which add to the enjoyment I think. I would recommend this book for sure and my son certainly would too!
Thank you for reading my review!
'The Troll' is a memorable future classic by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, who is this time teamed with David Roberts and not her usual partner in crime Axel Scheffler. It sure is hard to be original nowadays, but this book manages to retell some old, beloved children's book themes (ie: Trolls and Pirates) in a new exciting, witty and creative way, making this book a head above shoulders on the junior picture book shelf.
I bought this for my daughter when she was just under 3 years old and it has really made a big impression on her imagination. The story plays with the stereotypes of Pirates looking for treasure and Trolls who live under a bridge. We know what's supposed to happen; 'trolls are supposed to eat goats' but this poor troll doesn't get any goats 'trip trapping' over his bridge. He moves bridges repeatedly as directed by 'desperate to avoid death' creatures who tell him that goats will definitely cross the next bridge. (My daughter asked me a while ago "mumma, why doesn't he just eat the creatures anyway before he moves to next bridge?" "creative build up and melodrama" I tell her and the questions cease.)
The Troll story is mirrored by the tale of the disastrous pirates who are in possession of a treasure map with the traditional 'x' marking the spot. However it turns out that the pirates are actually pretty atrocious navigators and probably would have trouble locating an exit from a room with only one door. Consequently they keep arriving and excavating on 'the wrong island'. To make maters worse, none of the pirate crew can cook very well so each night they sit down to disgustingly inedible fishy dishes. The two stories are just waiting to meet and meet they do resolving all the conflicts in the book. Without telling you the ending (because us parents are entitled to at least some surprises in our lives- wink) I will simply say that Mr Irony is patiently waiting in the punchline.
I love the layout of this decent sized book. Each page is filled from top to toe with bright, funny and informative pictures, depicting the narrative in original and witty perspectives. They are actually very expressive so I think that a child, having been read the story before, could enjoy looking at the pictures alone without being able to read it- there is literally a picture for every development.
The book is full of repetition which of course is what children love and there are some great lines for kids to join in with once they know whats coming. The characters in the book have some fantastic and memorable names such as Peg Polkadot and Ben Buckle; children naturally love this fun type of wordplay. What is also great is that the book is that it is filled with lots of dialogue. I would suggest that books with a large amount of dialogue give parents a great opportunity to engage children who don't have the patience to listen quietly to a story by using lots of fun voices to bring the characters to life. Although you would never catch me reciting it to anyone else (even if my life depended on it) I have special voices for all of the characters in the book and my kid loves it. (Eg: Peg Polkadot is a scouser and Percy patch has the voice of a snake if a snake could talk like a human- don't ask me why....)
I love the fact that it introduces young children to irony. I also like that it takes the classic stories and reinvents them. This is an awesome picture book for junior readers and is a firm fave with my daughter (now 4). I predict that if you read this to your child when they are two then they will be reading it by themselves later on, even when they are 6 or 7 because the fun in the book isn't restricted to certain age group, having the scope to impress older children as much as it does preschoolers.I would highly recommend this to all parents of both little girls and boys as the book makes no gender biases.
There is a spirit of adventure and fantasy in the book which my daughter is enchanted by and its a breathe of fresh air when compared to say the stiflingly boring Anthony Browne's 'Bears Magic Pencil'.
Julia Donaldson- we parents, who are bored of using boring story telling to capture our child's short attention span, salute you! - Keep em coming :)
The Troll is the latest title to have joined our fairly extensive library of Julia Donaldson books. The "by the author of the GRUFFALO" by-line on the front cover is probably superfluous to many parents, that title being somewhat of a modern children's classic. So could this new tale live up to our previous happy experiences of Donaldson books? Well yes it could!
I have to admit that on a first read, I - the adult doing the reading to two children excited at the prospect of a new book, was a little bemused by the concept of the book. In essence this book isn't just about a troll at all, rather it is two intertwined and separate stories, that of a goat-seeking troll being alternated with the story of some treasure-seeking and bad food eating pirates. Luckily the original "two tales in one" concept didn't seem to bother my audience at all, and kept their attention through the whole book from that very first read.
For this book Donaldson has teamed up with David Roberts for the illustrations, who also did the pictures for "Tyrannosaurus Drip", perhaps my least favourite book by this author. Here the pictures work well, with the artist producing a convincing "Pet Polkadot" and "Ben Buckle" (the pirates) and a Troll who is just the right balance of monster-like without being too scary. I like the way that the text is laid out too, the pages are divided up in comic book style. There's no difference in style between the pages of the two different tales, the book jumps from one half of the story to the other with only the occasional "meanwhile...." to remind you that you are going from the Pirates' story to that of the Troll.
The two stories could stand on their own merits, the goat-seeking troll is convinced to go a bridge further down the river with his frying pan to find bigger prey by passing creatures ( a bit of a nod to the mouse in the Gruffalo here), and meanwhile the Pirates are on the hunt for treasure on different islands, all while eating a succession of badly cooked fish dishes. Eventually, in a way that I will not reveal here as I would hate to spoil the ending, the two worlds collide, providing for a satisfying conclusion to the book, for both reader and audience.
This book is not written in rhyme, as you might expect, but in short, simple and well written sentences. It's slightly longer than the bedtime norm, but every word is well chosen and children seem to love the characters and relate to the stories with their touches of humour. This book has definite child appeal, I've found my 6 year old enjoys this book being read to her as much as my younger child. I would say it is best suited for children from just under 3 and up as it does require a degree of concentration and they will probably best enjoy it if they already know the characters of trolls and pirates and can appreciate the little touches of subversion of conventional expectations of these characters. Though the pirates have a plank, they also try to make fish cakes, and the troll has a cunning plan to catch his goat - it's all great fun.
This is an excellent book that takes traditional characters and gives them a twist. The two worlds colliding is an original concept that I feel has been expertly pulled off. We really enjoy reading this book, which we own in paperback version, and it's one that I really recommend!