Monday, September 5, 2016

Hilda and the Troll

Hilda is a little Scandinavian girl with an excellent vocabulary. She enjoys the finer things in life, like camping out during rainstorms, snuggling with pets, and going on trips to draw things in nature. Complications arise in this book when she goes off on such a trip and encounters a rock troll. She has read up on the folklore about those creatures, but she may have skimmed so quickly that she missed an important detail or two. Still, she is clever and manages to find a resolution to the situation with quick thinking and some help from her antlered pet Twig.

This book is larger than your typical graphic novel, more like picture book size, which features the artwork beautifully. And as you can see in the excerpt below, Hilda and the rest of the cast are depicted in an adorable way:
Not only is the artwork excellent, but the scenes and characters are also well defined in quick and easy fashion. This book is so approachable and endearing. It is simultaneously new and familiar, which is a tough trick to pull off. Also, even though there is some action, suspense, and drama, I felt it all was not so extreme. Subtle touches of humor and heart tone things down and also make the book feel more human. Reading this book felt like a visit with a well-traveled, fanciful, and loquacious friend than a series of stressful escapades.

Artist/illustrator Luke Pearson created this book, and Hilda's adventures have been spun out into multiple volumes. He speaks more about his life, work, and Hilda comics in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book sing its praises. Janelle Asselin commented that the world depicted here is complex and that the story is "sweet and charming, but not saccharine." Richard Bruton wrote that the entire production "screams quality and class." Alexandra Lange summed up, "Pearson has found a lovely new way to dramatize childhood demons, while also making you long for your own cruise down the fjords."

Hilda and the Troll was published by NoBrow Press, and they have a preview and more available here. You can find subsequent volumes in the series by searching here. Also, these stories are being adapted into a Netflix series due in 2018.

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