FICTION
Troll Stinks
illus. by Tony Ross. 32p. Andersen. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781512439489.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 4—Two goat kids, Billy and Cyril, find themselves in possession of the farmer's lost cell phone. In rhyming prose, the author takes readers along as the two friends make mischief with the cell phone. First, they take pictures and film videos of their fellow animals. Billy and Cyril undress the poor scarecrow and take selfies of themselves in his clothes. Next, they make crank calls to people on the farmer's contact list. The naughty goat kids are delighted with themselves and their antics. When they discover the contact information for the troll who lives under the bridge, they get an idea. Having heard from Grandpa Gruff that trolls will eat them, Billy and Cyril text the troll numerous times, telling him that he stinks, that he should get off the bridge, and that he is dumb. Next, they decide to take a picture of the troll, put it on the Internet, and caption it, "The foulest face you'll see!" The two billy goats go into the troll's cave intending to take a quick picture and get out before being eaten. To their surprise, they do not find a terrifying creature, but a small, crying troll. Someone has been saying mean things about her. The goats admit to the pranks. Troll cannot understand why they would be so mean to her—she has never hurt anyone, and trolls have feelings, too. The goats are ashamed and ask her forgiveness and make friends with her. One cannot miss the "bully goat" reference or that this is a moral-of-the-story book. However, this title presents the timely issue of cyberbullying in an age-appropriate manner. The billy goats wear clothing and live in a house with their parents, making them seem just like average "kids." The tale is not too wordy and works well with the illustrations. The bright watercolors are engaging, with just the right amount of fun to hold the attention of most children.
VERDICT A worthy addition to social emotional learning collections and to storytime read-aloud lists.

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