We've always believed that books are an essential component of growing up. If a child catches the book-bug early and if they learn to enjoy and treasure them, then their future is assured. Reading to a child can strengthen bonds, but more importantly it can start to show the child that there are magical worlds between the covers of a book, and that these magical worlds can be accessed by anyone with a set of skills that are well worth acquiring. We put this into practice with our daughters, who in turn have passed on their love of books to the next generation.
But how do you go about convincing a child that books are worth bothering with? Reading to them, and then getting them to read to you, is clearly an important part of it. But it's only going to work if you, and they, have the right books available, books that will engage and excite and entertain and inspire. "Day of the Trolls" by Ron Butlin and James Hutcheson is a big, bright book that has all the impact it needs to attract a child's attention. The cover is great, and the pictures are striking and quirky.
The story itself is fun and presented in a "handwritten" script that again emphasises informality and accessibility. As the publisher's release says: "It's the Day of the Trolls! Fart-Fart and the havoc-wreaking trolls are back for a day out. Join them in the shopping mall where they go wild, causing havoc and overrun the place. But when they follow signs saying "All Trolls - This Way", things turn out very differently to what Flycatcher, Bumscratcher, SnotFace, Squeer and the rest of them expected...."
At the end of the day, while the cover can attract and the pictures engage, we have to remember that it is the words that tell the story. Our grandson has now grown past the age where we can get a first-hand view from a member of the book's target audience, but to our mind this is a story that will appeal, that will be remembered, and that will have its readers coming back for more. And you can't really ask for much more than that from a children's book.