Children’s Books: Recommended read – ‘The Troll Trap’ by Rosen Trevithick
I’m delighted to present my first review of a brilliant – and, in this case, very funny – children’s book that has hitherto slipped under the media radar. The first in a series of books about the ‘Smelly Trolls’, The Troll Trap is a self-published chapter book by Cornish author Rosen Trevithick. Rosen began publishing books and short stories through the Amazon Kindle Store in 2011, and has gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. She has already published her follow-up to The Troll Trap, Mr Splendiferous and the Troublesome Trolls, and is currently working on the third instalment.
What’s the story?
When he is five years and 364 days old, Rufus Sebbleford becomes the only boy in the world to see a real troll and live to tell the tale – though of course no-one believes him. Five years later, now determined to become a professional troll hunter, he learns of an impending troll attack on his school. Can Rufus and his friend Polly find a way to outwit the malodorous trolls before they make his classmates their next meal? And just why does the rather large and whiffy new boy at school – somewhat suspiciously named ‘Bruno Trolly’ – seem to know so much about trolls and their stinky habits?
Who’s it for?
Eight to 10 year-olds and parents reading aloud to younger children who take delight all things smelly and disgusting.
Why should I read it?
You can tell that Ms Trevithick was a fan of Roald Dahl when she was growing up. The stinky trolls in this story are reminiscent of the giants in The BFG and, if possible, even more revolting. Her strong authorial voice and witty prose will appeal to parents as much as children; I caught myself chortling out loud at least every other page.
Kids will laugh themselves silly at all the trolls’ smelly bottoms and feeble brains while adults will get a sneaky kick out of the social commentary hidden between the lines (a troll family decides to masquerade as human beings so they can sign on and claim child benefits, our 10-year-old hero’s parents barely feature because they’re too busy watching reality TV shows called things like Horse Versus Poodle and Breakfast on Ice). The trolls have some wonderfully descriptive names – ‘Gunkfreak’ and the quadruple-barrelled ‘Super-Troll-Knobbly-Foot’ family being my favourites – and the narration is clear but also knowing, making the reader feel included in the author’s jokes, and never talked-down-to.
Best character: Gunkfreak, for being so delectably repulsive.
Best line: I couldn’t choose just one, so here are a couple of my favourites:
‘Even with nasal plugs, the two humans could tell that the shoe pile was the stinkiest manmade structure in the world. The pong was so bad that three slugs and a passing skunk fainted. A sparrow threw up in the flowerbed.’
‘She was a pretty girl with blonde hair and blue eyes but her beauty was only skin-deep. She was like an ornate jar of wriggling maggots.’
If I like this, what other books might I like?
The Grunts by Philip Ardagh
Rebecca Davies is a journalist and children’s author and completed her middle-grade novel, Shirley Smart and the Nix’s Curse earlier this year. You can read more of her children’s book blogs here
Follow Rebecca on Twitter @TheStoryMonsterTagged in: Rosen Trevithick, The Troll Trap
Recent Posts on Arts
- Children’s books for December: Herman’s Letter, The Yeti Files, Greenglass House and Winter Damage
- Friday Book Design Blog: The Ariel Poems, and other seasonal pamphlets
- Children’s book blog – Ask the illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
- Piggott's post: Jacobson, Heller and reflections on "real life"
- Ric Blackshaw tells us Scrawl about his street art enterprise
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter