The heroine of Eric Orchard’s Bera the One-Headed Troll is happy on her island raising pumpkins for the Troll king. Then, she finds a baby near the shore and learns a witch wants it. Determined to keep the child safe, Bera sets out to find a hero to take the baby back home. The only problem is, heroes seem to be in short supply, and Bera finds herself moving forward on her own.
Orchard has created a heroine with a quiet, steady resolve. She is not flashy, and she does not go out hunting for a quest, but once she sets out, she keeps going. She’s a quiet pumpkin gardener who is also clever, resourceful, and willing to ask for help.mHer heroism tends to be a very pragmatic type: helping someone out of deep water or lowering a scarf for them to climb. Her journey takes her to an array of allies and some odd-looking enemies.
The book is drawn in shades of brown to brown-orange and white with touches of black. This can be surprisingly spooky when the subject is twisted root monsters or terrifying wolves. And Bera’s home, of course, is on the cozier side of the spectrum. One of the Orchard’s clever touches in Bera the One-Headed Troll having the witch, Cloote, ride around in a small, multi-legged Viking boat. Then there is Bera herself, a short troll with a bit of an overbite. Most of the time, she looks cute and harmless, but there is enough ferocity in those teeth once she opens her mouth to signal otherwise.
Bera the One-Headed Troll is perfect for young readers who enjoy tales of heroism and for readers—or parents of young readers who enjoy heroism that does not involve swords.
Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard comes out from First Second on August 2, 2016. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. It is also available in other bookstores, online and brick-and-mortar, and you might also find it in your local library.