Tuesday 29 January 2013

Troggle the Troll

Troggle the Troll by Nick Falk and Tony Lowe (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN 9781742756011
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742748269
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Tony Lowe’s dedication at the beginning of this humorous and colourful picture book for children aged 2+ hooks me in at the start. ‘While deceiving your parents is bad, eating people is definitely worse!’

The premise is enticing. Trolls! Eating people! Read on.

Troggle the Troll lives with his family ‘under a bridge in a hole in the ground.’ Unlike his fellow story character in the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Troggle and his family are different. They’re not scary. They’re just always hungry. Troggle doesn’t like dinner, ‘because they always had the same thing. Every single night. They had people.’ On Mondays they ate Postman Pie. On Tuesdays it was Teacher Tart and on Thursdays, they lapped up Pilot Pudding.

When Daddy Troll falls ill, it’s up to Troggle to fetch dinner. He is under strict instructions. ‘Something tender, something sweet, something with arms and legs and feet!’ But … ‘No vegegubbles!’

With this delightful dilemma, creators, Nick Falk and Tony Lowe devise a crazy second half of the book. Troggle meets a boy called Tom. Troggle should bring Tom home to be their dinner, but Troggle confesses that he doesn’t really like eating people.

‘Carrots, cabbage and cauliflower?’ said Tom.
‘Yum!’ said Troggle.

So, off to the vegetable patch they go.

Troggle returns home to howls of ‘What’s for dinner?’
‘Something special, something new, something tasty just for you.’

The troll family hoes into the vegetable person Troggle has made by snagging an arm, grabbing a leg and nabbing a nose. They heartily agreed, ‘It’s the tastiest person we ever did eat!’

Troggle is very happy proving that a little troll can make a big difference.

As with the quotes I’ve used, you can see that there is playful use of prose and poetry in this picture book. There are made-up words, visual puns, such as ‘Hole Sweet Hole’, luscious alliteration and lots of onomatopoeic words that capture movement and sound. The words are simple for little ones to read and repeat, and different fonts are used when words need stressing.

There is much humour in the cute and colourful illustrations. There are obvious things to find on each page as well as quirky detail to discover with a closer look.

Nick Falk brings into play his life as a practising psychologist and Tony Lowe’s passion for drawing since he was a child shines through. He also illustrated The Boy who Ate Himself. Hmm, there seems to be a theme here!

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