'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Friday, 3 January 2014

Review: Troll Wood

No one goes into Troll Wood. No. One. But this family does. Oh yes, they do.

And they seem unfazed. In they go--along the path, past the apple and plums trees. No one eats the fruit from these trees. But the family will. Yes, they will.

It's up the hill next, where the wildflowers grow. The family climbs it, even though no one ever does.

Past the Troll Bridge (where no one goes), into the deepest part of the wood where strange pet-like creatures appear. No one ever pets them. But the family will. Oh yes, they will.

The family love the dark, sinister nature of the wood. They stay the night, and in the morning, they head back out again, though the gate where pretty white flowers grow. No one ever dares pick these white flowers but the family do. Yes. They do.

The family love Troll Wood so very much, they make themselves at home in the house in Troll Wood. They do it up, make it sunshiny and have a glorious life in a place they feel truly at home.

I have really mixed feelings about this book. I simply adore its folky illustrations and gorgeous storyline premise--about seizing life, being unafraid, and making lemonade from lemons, but the repetitive text nearly did my head in (I've hinted at it in my text above).

Each double page spread features an identical stanza with only small changes to text. Each stanza ends with the same proclamation about the family doing something. 'We will.' 'And they did.'

I appreciate repetitive text, especially for the very young, but in this case, the lack of repetition relief virtually ruins enjoyment of this book. Probably best read slowly, in a classroom setting where the repetition can be frequently broken by admiring the gorgeous illustrations and delightful premise.

A good book for kids studying predictive texts.

Title: Troll Wood
Author: Kathryn Cave
Illustrator: Paul Hess
Publisher: Frances Lincoln, $27.95 RRP
Publication Date: 23 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781847802385
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book


  1. Maybe that repetitive element will work for some children bough. The very young and learners of English, with plenty to look at while they learn.

  2. ah, I think I misspelled something there, though?

  3. I agree, Angela--repetition is important for the young in terms of grasping language, but not when it's to the point of mind-bending, and not to an extent where it ruins reading enjoyment.


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