cover image The Toll-Bridge Troll

The Toll-Bridge Troll

Patricia Rae Wolff, Kimberly Bulcken Root. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-277665-7

Little boys must go to school and young trolls must guard toll bridges. From this ingenuous premise debut author Wolff spins a series of humorous encounters as clever Trigg repeatedly outwits and out-riddles a small, rather elfin troll. In a neat surprise ending, the troll announces that his mother has ordered him to attend school, too, ""so that I can get smart."" The swift, puckish story and its plucky hero will appeal tremendously, especially to the many children inspired to play toll-bridge by The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Root's (The Palace of Stars) quirky style shines in her pen-and-ink and watercolor compositions (in the opening scene, Trigg, bidding his mother good-bye, nonchalantly steps over the enormous Great Dane that almost incidentally sprawls across the doorway). She also contributes endpaper landscapes showing Trigg's route and rebus-like mini-drawings, incorporated into the text. All the visual eccentricities help the reader believe in the fantastical world so deftly created here. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)