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The Trouble with Trolls

Last updated Thursday, December 8, 2011

Author: Jan Brett
Illustrator: Jan Brett
Date of Publication: 1992
ISBN: 0399223363
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2011

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:
Treva's trouble begins when she and her dog, Tuffi, go up Mount Baldy. She meets five white-haired trolls, all intent on taking Tuffi; they want a dog and have filled their underground burrow with the things such a pet would need. Quick-thinking Treva, using tactics worthy of Br'er Rabbit, convinces the trolls that her mittens, hat, sweater, etc., are much more important to her than a dog, but wins all her belongings back before she and Tuffi escape down the mountain. With the fine details that have become her trademark, Brett tells two stories at the same time: the child's encounters with the trolls appear on the top three-fourths of each spread, and a cross-section of their abode occupies the bottom. A humorous subplot involves a curious hedgehog.

Note to readers:
•  There is a second story going on in the bottom of each page. After reading the story once, go through again and have the kids look at the pictures of the hedgehog in the trolls' lair. Have them tell the story to you!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you seen a troll?
•  Have you seen the snow?
•  Have you ever skied?

•  Troll – in Scandinavian folklore, supernatural beings inhabiting underground dwellings
•  Mount - Used in the case as another word for Mountain
•  Scuttled - A short, hurried run.
•  Yelp - a quick cry or outburst.
•  Waggled - to move up and down or from side to side in a short, rapid manner.
•  Greedy
•  Darted - To move swiftly; spring or start suddenly and run swiftly.
•  Boasted - To speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself.
•  Skis – one of a pair of long, slender runners made of wood, plastic, or metal used in gliding over snow.
•  Hedgehog – a European porcupine.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you had a pet, would you let a troll steal it?
•  Do you think what Treva did was smart? Do you think she got cold?
•  What is the hedgehog doing?
•  Have you ever been to Mount Baldy near Los Angeles? Do you think it's the same one as the book?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a Troll like the ones in the book
•  Design a Hat on a piece of paper and spiral into a cone. Cut holes in the corners for string.
•  Create a Headband like Treva's with strip of paper and decorate with designs from the book
•  Draw a hedgehog or a dog

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!