Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

Reviewed: December 10, 2002
By: Jan Brett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
32 pages, $24.99

Just in time for Christmas we have this delightful story of how to deal with trolls when they attempt a home invasion. Trolls are not the sort of creatures you want around, not even in open house season, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be polite to other strangers.

So young Kyrie is polite to the boy from Finnmark when he comes knocking on her door on Christmas Eve. Kyrie’s father would have been home but he was out on a ski patrol trying to repel the trolls. The boy had an ice bear with him, but he was very polite and the bear simply curled up under the warm ceramic stove.

In fact that’s where he was when those nasty trolls broke in through the basement later on, and when they made the mistake of waking him up while they were in the middle of eating all the Christmas baking, it is safe to say that they were truly impressed by the results.

They were so impressed that they didn’t come back the next year, or even after that.

I’m hardly doing this tale justice, because it’s a beautifully illustrated book. Except for the first and last pages, it is told in double spreads, with one large painting dominating the open book. The painting is framed by what seem to be bone and wood carvings, and they, in turn, contain smaller detail paintings that help to advance the story. Arching overhead are various displays of northern lights and constellations, befitting the time of the year.

Brett likes to interact with her readers. There are all sorts of messages, video and audio clips and other goodies at her website, www.janbrett.com.