A clever—and impossibly cute—child thwarts a bumbling beast at every turn.
Every day around lunchtime, big blue Troll tries to eat the little Oliver, who dances mirthfully over hill and dale and through forest, singing a taunting tune. "You'll never catch me! / I'm much too quick—as you can see." Indeed, this seems to be true. The Oliver suddenly vanishes whenever Troll gets close. Readers will almost feel sorry for the green-eyed, snaggle-toothed monster. The pursuit goes on for many months, through winter and into the new year's thaw. One day, exhausted and demoralized, Troll decides to go back to his cave. Later, the Oliver sees no trace of Troll; it's most peculiar. As he's mixing up a cake batter, the Oliver realizes that he's won. And at that very moment, Troll leaps out of hiding via a nifty half-page turn: “CHOMP!” It turns out, though, that Olivers taste terrible, and Troll spits it out. Both sit in depressed silence until a ding from the oven awakens them, changing everything. It turns out they both love CAKE! Not since Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner has there been such a happy mismatch of inept hunter and blithe prey. Stower's ink-and-wash illustrations use white space and a hand-drawn feeling for maximum mirth. Bonus: a recipe from The Trolliver Cookbook.
Nicely tuned to a preschool sense of the ridiculous. (Picture book. 3-5)