Bera is no electric-haired, belly button bejeweled, run of the mill troll. She’s a hero.
Title: Bera the One-Headed Troll
Author and Illustrator: Eric Orchard
Source: Raincoast Books for review
Description from Goodreads:
Bera doesn’t ask for much in life. She’s a solitary, humble troll, tending her island pumpkin patch in cheerful isolation. She isn’t looking for any trouble.
But when trouble comes to find her, it comes in spades. A human baby has arrived in the realm of the trolls, and nobody knows where it came from, but Bera seems to be the only person who doesn’t want it dead. There’s nothing to it but to return the adorable little thing to its parents.
Like it or not, Bera’s gone and found herself a quest.
What I Thought:
This charmingly creepy book tells the classic hero’s tale of an unassuming pumpkin farmer on a mission to save a baby.
My daughter has been really loving graphic novels lately, and even though this book is a geared for a slightly older audience (she’s a precocious 4 year old, I would say this book is more for around 8) she was riveted by the story and the illustrations.
The colours in this book are all sepia toned, which gives this story an ancient feeling right from the start. Orchard put an enormous amount of detail into the pictures, and they could almost tell the entire story without the help of the speech bubbles.
The creatures in this book are all supremely creepy looking, and even Bera herself doesn’t have pupils. She’s a bit eerie, but still endearing. I also loved how the giant trolls Bera seeks help from increased in size and head count as the story progressed.
My favourite characters were the little hedgehogs and rats, who provided comic relief for the book. Their little asides are just hilarious. Evelyn’s favourite was Bera’s owl companion Winslowe who is with her from the start.
I was a little disappointed in the ending, but Evelyn said she was satisfied with it. I did enjoy the final two pages and thought them perfectly fitting. And after reading an interview with Orchard (link below) the ending makes a lot more sense. This is definitely a book to recommend and share!
I found this extremely insightful interview of Eric Orchard and discovered this story has much deeper origins than I knew when I first read it. His mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and Orchard himself wrote part of this book when he was in a mental hospital. To read the interview head over to Paste Magazine.
Bera the Brave – will she become the next great Troll Hero?