Monday, August 07, 2006

Troll Bridge

Troll Bridge: a rock 'n' roll fairy tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, 2006

Folklorist, Jane Yolen wrote this second Rock 'N' Roll Fairy tale with her son, Adam Stemple.

Moira is a classical harpist who plays with the Minnesota symphony. For publicity purposes she has sought and won a spot as a state fair Dairy Princess. Along with the other 11 girls of the "court," she attends community events and has had her likeness carved in butter.

Traditionally, every year, the butter sculptures of the Dairy Princesses are placed on Troll Bridge. In time they melt or "disappear." This year, though, environmental concerns have nixed leaving the butter offering on the bridge.

As Moira and the other princesses prepare for a photoshoot at Troll Bridge, they are caught up by a giant troll, who spirits them away to Trollholm.

Meanwhile, four brothers who make up a popular boy band called The Griffsons are taking a vacation before their next concert tour. By chance the brothers end up at Troll Bridge too and are also carried away.

In Trollholm, Moira alone has evaded the enchanted sleep that has bewitched the other eleven princesses. As she casts about to escape the fate of becoming a troll bride, she meets a mysterious and vaguely sinister fox named Foss who seems willing to help her.

Jakob Griffson awakens in Trollholm only to discover that he and his brothers are soon going to be troll food. Moira and Jakob must work together to rescue all of them from the clutches of Aenmarr the troll and Trollhom itself.

I have not read Yolen and Stemple's earlier book, Pay the Piper but I liked the mixture of traditional folk tales and a teen's world. In this story they have called on The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Twelve Dancing Princesses as source material.

Foss the fox is taken from the Scandinavian trickster Fossegrim but also reminded me of kitsunes in Japanese folklore.

Musical imagery and elements run throughout the story. The beginning page of each chapter is decorated by a faint treble clef and the sections of the chapter are indicated by a fermata. A collection "Songs from Troll Bridge" completes the book. The lyrics are provided but would be fun to hear the songs. Stemple is a professional musician. Maybe he could make audio versions available on his website.

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