The snowy Scandinavian setting used in Brett’s previous stories about trolls is again the backdrop for this latest Christmas offering from the beloved and prolific illustrator.
This time a little troll boy named Rollo learns a lesson about good behavior and helping others. Trolls have a tail until they show their maturity through their actions, and Rollo has little chance of losing his tail due to his consistently bad behavior. After he deposits the family pig on top of the roof, Rollo runs away from home looking for greener pastures. He tries living with owls, bears, otters, a lynx and moose, growing more homesick with each new environment before sliding back home on a moose-antler sled. His family has been sadly and faithfully waiting for his return, caring for his pet hedgehog and preparing his Christmas gifts. Their actions are illustrated in heart-shaped vignettes tucked into Brett’s signature border designs, which in this offering are particularly effective, with a birch-bark texture and tiny surprise-filled pockets in the corners. As always, Brett’s illustrations are filled with well-researched details in costumes, decorations and Christmas toys. The satisfying conclusion shows the troll family in their striped pajamas gathered around the fire, “all together, singing and telling stories far into the night.”A cozy Christmas present for Brett’s devoted fans. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)