From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5?An engaging but little-known Norwegian folktale, expertly told and nicely illustrated. Shepard streamlines the original text collected by folklorists Peter Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe in the 19th century, but remains true to the spirit of that version. Leif, a headstrong young man, leaves home to work for a demanding troll and soon discovers that the tasks assigned to him are impossible. For example, when cleaning out the stable every pitchfork of dung that Leif throws out is multiplied tenfold and flies right back into his face. It is only with the help of the Master Maid, a beautiful young woman who cooks for the troll, that Leif is able to complete his tasks. When the irate troll decides to put him into a stew, the two escape. The troll pursues them and it is the Master Maid who saves the day. At the book's end, the couple get married. When the minister asks the young woman if she will love, honor, and obey her husband, Leif says, "Never mind that! It's best if I obey her." The narrator slyly adds, "And he did?which is why they lived happily ever after." Shepard's concise story line and evocative language make this an ideal choice for telling or reading aloud. Ellison's realistic watercolors, done in a bright and cheery palette, are highly detailed and for the most part appealing. However, the artist has a little trouble depicting humans; the troll is the most successfully executed character and he ends up being more amusing than threatening.?Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
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