Hilda and the Troll is the first in a series of graphic novels by Luke Pearson.
Following a night of camping out in the rain, Hilda heads off up the hill to explore and to do some drawings of the rocks. After drawing a troll rock - that is rumoured to take the form of a powerful and fierce troll at night - Hilda and her fluffy friend, Twig, fall asleep. Waking up to a setting sun, caught in a blizzard and with no troll rock in sight, Hilda knows she just has to get home…
This is a great fantasy adventure read that follows the loveable Hilda as she explores the magical land in which she lives. The reality of everyday life combines beautifully with the fantasy world; Hilda and her mum live in what appears to be a Scandinavian home amongst grassy fields and snow-topped peaks where creatures from folklore live. Hilda reads, her mum works on technical drawings and a strange wood man figure comes and goes as he pleases. When Hilda questions why he keeps coming in uninvited, her mum responds with, “Leave him be Hilda. I think he comes to keep warm or something. And besides, he brings us wood.” As I said, reality and fantasy seamlessly combine and there is no need to question it.
Hilda’s world is one of trolls, sea spirits, giants and a wood man who is more than happy to invite himself into Hilda’s home unannounced. Everything about this read is weird and wonderful - Hilda, her surroundings, the strange and mythical characters. Curious blue-haired Hilda, who struts around wearing a beret, a yellow scarf and carrying a yellow shoulder bag, is a great character and a super role model for young girls. Embracing her surroundings and with a keen sense of adventure, she is independent, resourceful, brave, feisty and loves to get outside and go off exploring.
The action plays out in large comic style panels as Luke Pearson’s artwork immerses readers into Hilda’s fantasy world. I love the use of a muted colour palette, it just adds to the wonder of it all. Be sure to check out the marvellous map of Hilda’s world at the front of the book and some extra information about trolls that is lurking at the back along with some of Pearson’s early sketch work and a bonus Wood Man story.
Recommended for 7+.