The Heartless Troll

Oyvind Torseter, trans. from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $19.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-59270-193-3
Torseter (Why Dogs Have Wet Noses) builds this marvelous graphic novel on the scaffolding of a traditional fairy tale in which a king loses six of his seven sons to an evil troll and reluctantly sends the seventh out to search for them. Readers join Prince Fred as he sets off in a floppy hat astride an unwilling horse. “Goodbye, father!” Prince Fred cries. “Do we really have to go?” murmurs the horse. “I’m sure they can find their own way home.” Prince Fred makes his way deep into the troll’s lair, littered with skulls and bones, and discovers a cool-headed princess being held against her will. The two defeat the troll with a smooth team effort that involves—among other things—distracting an octopus with a saxophone. The delicate, spidery lines and dark landscapes of Torseter’s panels combine the energy of Ralph Steadman, the effervescence of Jules Feiffer, and the charm of the Moomintrolls. Mordant grotesquerie (a broken table leg replaced with a femur) vies with hilarity as Prince Fred is shown perched miserably on the rim of the troll’s gigantic, bone-filled commode. Dickson’s translation shines as well. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/25/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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