4 out of 5 Stars
During a trip to Powells last week I was chatting with a lady in the children’s book section (the Rose Room if you are familiar with Powells on Burnside – it is the “City of Books” after all!). She is an artist and was holding the book called “The Heartless Troll” by Oyvind Torseter. She collects picture books that inspire her work and this book caught her eye and her heart. I went in search of it after she showed it to me and I couldn’t find it. We had to run to one of the other Powells locations the following day (to find a book my son was searching for) and as I was wandering around. Lo and behold I found it sitting on a shelf, just waiting for me. I picked it up and brought it home.
This graphic novel is loosely based on an old Norwegian tale called “The Troll with no heart in his body” and tells the story of a king who has 7 sons. 6 of his sons go off in search of wives and meet 6 sisters who they decide to marry. On their way back to their kingdom they come across a Troll who turns them all to stone! It has been a while since the king heard anything from his sons and Prince Fred, the remaining son and our hero, convinces his co-dependent father to let him go in search of his brothers. His father reluctantly agrees and so begins our adventure.
This book is full of fun and humor. There is a great sense of humor throughout the book with little comments about various things. It hit with me because when I watch cartoons or read various books, it felt like Mr. Torseter stepped inside my mind and put my thoughts into this book. It was a little frightening but I loved it! The humor is such that kids will enjoy it too.
As Prince Fred searches for his brothers he learns there is a Troll he must defeat – and there lies is our adventure. Prince Fred learns to make friends along his journey showing that an open heart is a good way to go into the world. There is however a moral lesson that you want to treat the people you meet on your journeys well, for they may help you in the future. Unless you are a wolf. The wolf wasn’t very nice though and since he acted as a bully was put in his place.
I found the illustrations really simple and lovely. The colors throughout the book weren’t as vibrant as I am used to with kids books, but serve a purpose in each picture and I really liked that it wasn’t overly flashy. It felt very Scandinavian in that regard.
The story is one both parents and children will love and I highly recommend this book! Nothing is so scary that younger readers will have trouble. I recommend it for kids 5 and up!