Author: Tomie dePaola
Genre: Romance / Fairy Tale / Humor
Year Published: 1977
Year Read: 2012
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Content Rating: Ages 4+ (Nothing Objectionable)
I have always been a huge fan of Tomie dePaola’s works ever since I was a child, with my favorites being of his “Strega Nona” stories (favorites from this series are “Strega Nona” and “Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons”). Now I have stumbled upon a new book I have read from Tomie dePaola called “Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story” and I was absolutely blown away by this book! “Helga’s Dowry” is about a young troll named Helga who wanted to marry a handsome troll named Lars, but because she was orphaned as a child, she has no rich dowry. So Helga decides to get a rich dowry by doing some hard work in the Land of People. “Helga’s Dowry” is a brilliant book about how hard work and determination really pays off at the end that many children will love for many years!
Helga was the loveliest Troll in three parishes, but because she was orphaned as a child, she had no dowry. So, when Lars wanted her hand in marriage, Helga realized that she must get a rich dowry soon or else, Lars would have to marry Plain Inge since Inge has a much richer dowry than Helga does. So, Helga decides to go to the land of people to get a job to earn her rich dowry.
Wow! I was so impressed with this book! I actually wished that I had read this book when I was younger because the message about how hard work and determination gives its own rewards was done so brilliantly and cleverly! Tomie dePaola has done a brilliant job with both illustrating and writing this tale about a young female troll who wanted to earn a rich dowry to marry a handsome troll, so she works hard to get the dowry she wanted. I loved the way that Tomie dePaola made Helga into such an independent and strong female character as she tried to work hard to achieve the dowry she wanted while keeping her principles about marrying a person who accepts her for herself in check. I also loved the twist at the end of this story as it was truly unexpected, but it was still a happy ending and it made me really root for Helga! I also loved the way that Tomie dePaola made the trolls in this book seem like regular good natured people, not as villains as they are usually portrayed in most fairy tales and folktales and that really helped me relate to the characters more while making them extremely interesting to read about. Tomie dePaola’s illustrations as usual are extremely creative and hilarious to look at. I loved how Tomie dePaola drew the trolls always grinning in every image and how he drew the trolls’ tails in being long and having hairy puffs at the tips. I also loved the images of Helga herself as she is always grinning and wears a cute little white bonnet and a blue apron that really defined the times that her character was set in.
Overall, “Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story” is a truly brilliant and hilarious book that children who want to learn about the importance of hard work and determination will definitely enjoy for years to come! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book for smaller children.