fiction favorites…D’Aulaires Book of Trolls

D’Aulaire’s Book of Trolls, by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire  

So the whole night the trolls had the mountains to themselves.  They prowled about in the moonlight casting huge dark shadows, and the troll-children howled and screamed and fought over blueberry patches.  The old trolls were gruff and gnarled, and if they had ever washed it must have been very long ago.  Flies and moths swarmed around them and shrubs and weeds sprouted from their noses and ears.  Many of them had tails as well, cowtails, pigtails or short, stubby bear tails…At the first faint light of dawn the trolls shuffled back into their mountains and slammed the stone doors shut behind them.  There, inside, no dark, damp caves awaited them, but great halls lit by glittering gold.  They sat on chairs of burnished gold at tables of solid silver and stuffed themselves with pig snouts, bear tails and sour cream pudding.

Well!

You probably are familiar with Greek mythology, but if you haven’t delved into Norse mythology with its hosts of trolls, gnomes,  

This is a tomte.

tomtes and other strange tribes dwelling in the dark, deep forests of Scandinavia, you are totally missing out!  Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire fill in the gap for Troll 101 with this imaginative, witty, fantastical catalogue of trolls!  I simply love this book!  

These trolls are huge, awkward, grouchy things, gobbling down food and generally bellowing and blundering about.  Often with multiple heads.  And nasty tempers.  But not so smart.  They come in quite a variety — mountain trolls, forest trolls, water trolls; even enormous frost giants.  

Now the gnomes are much smaller — hard-working miners and goldsmiths.   

Here is J.R.R. Tolkien's idea of trolls.

And the hulder-maidens!  They are, in fact, beautiful.  Human-looking –though they do have tails.  But very tricky…always trying to capture the fancy of a human boy and become his bride.  

This book is packed with page after page of delightful, larger-than-life, exuberant troll-lore.  The trolls are shockingly bad.  Monstrously ill-mannered.  Wonderfully boorish.  Your kids will not believe their eyes!  They will gasp and laugh at the atrocious  

Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

habits of these guys.  Edgar’s beloved  illustrations are known for their vibrancy, color, and crayon-like texture, and his depictions of these weird worlds and their hairy inhabitants are just fabulous.   If you have never enjoyed any of the books done by this husband-wife team, who partnered in children’s literature for nearly 50 years — 1931-1980 — you should definitely check them out.