Hilda and the Troll

Writer / Artist
Hilda and the Troll
Alternative editions:
Hilda and the Troll review
Alternative editions:
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Flying Eye Books - 978-1909263147
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2013
  • UPC: 9781909263147
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Adventure, All-Ages, Fantasy

Hilda and the Troll is a repackaged version of Hildafolk, originally published in 2010 as a small comic by Nobrow. This first book in Luke Pearson’s Hildafolk series introduces Hilda, a little girl who lives with her mother in a small cottage, nestled in the valley of a remote, wild and mountainous Scandinavian countryside. Hilda is a brave and curious girl who likes to explore the forest and mountains around her, always accompanied by her pet, Twig the ‘deerfox’ – a doglike creature who has antlers.

In this first adventure, Hilda ventures into the forest with Twig, to draw in her sketchbook and maybe make some new discoveries. She has a book that describes what trolls look like and where to find them, but while she’s out she only encounters a pile of rocks that are troll-shaped. Or are they a bit more than that?

Pearson took his inspiration for Hilda from Icelandic and Norwegian folklore, and based the look of this book on a blend of the worlds of Japanese animator/director Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away) and Finnish author Tove Jansson (Finn Family Moomintroll). His cartooning is charming and well-designed, with a beautiful backdrop of trees, hills and sunlit countryside for Hilda to wander in with Twig. This first story is a little simpler in structure and not as long as the other books in the series, which were designed from the beginning as larger format albums. There are a couple of extra pages to compensate for the shortness of the story: a map of Hilda’s world which shows all the locations of the events of this and the next volume, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, plus a detailed drawing of Hilda’s room. Hilda herself is a mixture of dreaminess and a spirited curiosity that makes her a great protagonist, equally attractive to children and to adults who might buy this to read for their little ones and then find they want to keep it for themselves.

If that’s the plan, why not head straight for the hardcover combination of the first two Hilda stories with many extras Hilda: The Wilderness Stories.