Select one of the keywords
D'Aulaires' Book of Trolls: New York Review Children's Collection    by Ingri D'Aulaire & Edgar D'Aulaire order for
D'Aulaires' Book of Trolls
by Ingri D'Aulaire
Order:  USA  Can
New York Review, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is one of a series of classics reissued in the excellent New York Review Children's Collection. D'Aulaires' Book of Trolls opens, 'In the old days, when only narrow, twisting paths wound their way through the moss-grown mountains of Norway, few human beings ever set foot there. The mountains belonged to the trolls, who were as old and moss-grown as the mountains themselves.' The colorful illustrations make these monsters rather goofy and vulnerable, as well as scary and spooky.

We're told all about the different kinds of trolls, their relatives, the soulless hulder-people - who looked like humans and whose daughters were 'bewitchingly beautiful' - and the hot-tempered, mischievous gnomes. When the trolls came out at night, humans in their farms in the valleys locked doors and windows, knowing that 'the gluttonous trolls loved tender tasty humans for their stewpots.' (We're told the troll-hags stirred the stew with 'their long, crooked noses', and that it was quite a challenge for a multi-headed troll to feed all his greedy mouths with only two hands!)

These multi-headed trolls especially liked to have their heads scratched 'by the gentle little hands of human princesses'. A twelve-headed troll demanded a king's twelve daughters for the job - and got them, as 'Who could fight a troll with twelve heads?' Of course, 'a brave young lad' took on the rescue, won the hand of the youngest princess, and half the kingdom to boot. The D'Aulaires continue with other engaging troll tales - of human tricks, of changelings, of deceptive troll-splinters, and of the enchantment of young men by hulder-maidens.

The authors retell these enchainting Norse myths with a wry humor and a sense of wonder that make D'Aulaires' Book of Trolls a timeless classic. At the end they consider whether there are still trolls hiding behind stone doors, gnomes mining deep in the mountains, and hulder-people herding under the hills. Their conclusion? 'We cannot be certain.'

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Kids books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews