Trolls

( 5 )

Overview

Aunt Sally is beyond any of Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee?s expectations. She has come all the way from Vancouver Island, Canada, to take care of the children while their parents are away, and right from the start, Aunt Sally enchants them with tales of her childhood with their father. Odd characters figure largely in the stories, like Maud, a hunter rumored to have killed eighty cougars; Great-uncle Louis, a health nut who insists everyone should gnaw on sticks for extra fiber; and Fat Little Mean Girl, the star ...

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Overview

Aunt Sally is beyond any of Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee’s expectations. She has come all the way from Vancouver Island, Canada, to take care of the children while their parents are away, and right from the start, Aunt Sally enchants them with tales of her childhood with their father. Odd characters figure largely in the stories, like Maud, a hunter rumored to have killed eighty cougars; Great-uncle Louis, a health nut who insists everyone should gnaw on sticks for extra fiber; and Fat Little Mean Girl, the star of a cautionary tale involving witchcraft and candy. All of Aunt Sally’s reminiscences lead up to a crucial story about trolls, sinister creatures who supposedly lurked along the shore at night. The trolls had the power to change Aunt Sally’s life forever, and their legacy may change the lives of the three present-day children as well.

1999 National Book Award nominee for Young People's Literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An unconventional aunt blows in from Vancouver to pinch-hit as babysitter, and offers two sisters and their brother an entrancing view of family history . . . Most sections are . . . hilarious, as is the snappy and perfectly timed dialogue. After the last laugh, Aunt Sally’s hard-won understanding of human nature will leave readers with plenty to ponder.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Original and entertaining . . . [A] witty, clever, and involving book.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“Horvath’s dry humor runs like a current through the book, sweeping readers along in the breathless anticipation of the next bit of absurdity.”—Publishers Weekly

“Polly Horvath has produced a small gem. She knows just how to twist language to make readers sit up and take notice. . . . She draws her characters with such precision that they peak without ever going over the top.”—New York Times Book Review

Horn Book Magazine
The gist of Aunt Sally, as Polly Horvath phrases it in this comic novel with a surprisingly poignant under-current, is that she's a storyteller. Before Aunt Sally comes down from Vancouver to Ohio to baby-sit Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee, the three siblings know little about her. They know little about anyone on their father's side of the family, and, after Sally leaves a week later, they still aren't sure what they know. Did their uncle John really get the tip of his finger bitten off by a clam and thus not have to play his much-feared violin recital? Was their great-great uncle Louis really a health nut who made his great-nieces and nephews gnaw sticks for fiber? Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee feel certain that not every detail of Aunt Sally's wild and enormously entertaining family tales can be believed. But readers will ascertain that somewhere within the exaggeration lies the "gist" of why the children's father and Sally do not have a close relationship...and along with the answer to that question ocmesa warningfor Melissa and Amanda. Horvath, a master storyteller herself, skillfully parallels the two generations as she conveys the unthinking cruelty older siblings often bestow upon younger ones. Six-year-old Pee Wee lives the "life of a worm" because of the way his sisters treat him. Aunt Sally, who shows Pee Wee the respect the girls withhold, doesn't directly reprimand them for their behavior. Instead, she tells them about the time she tried to give her bratty little brother, their father, to the trolls. "There are no locks to keep out the trolls," she says. "But don't worry, the trolls don't come to you. It's your own darkness that leads you to the trolls." There are hopeful signs that Melissa and Amanda have learned from the older generation's example and will try to keep their own darkness in check.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When the baby-sitter cancels at the last minute, Aunt Sally fills in and shares plenty of tall tales in this National Book Award finalist, about which PW said, "Horvath's dry humor runs like a current through the book, sweeping readers along in the breathless anticipation of the next bit of absurdity." Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Shalini Murthy
Eccentric Aunt Sally has come to baby-sit the Anderson children while their parents are on a trip to Paris. Aunt Sally turns out to be full of the fascinating stories about her and the children's father growing up on Vancouver Island. These stories keep the children in thrall by the exciting characters Aunt Sally brings to life and each day adds a piece to a very suspect family history. A delightful and humorous book that you don't want to put down!
NY Times Book Review
Polly Horvath has produced a small gem. She knows just how to twist language to make readers sit up and take notice....[S]he draws her characters with...precision...
Kirkus Reviews
An unconventional aunt blows in from Vancouver to pinch-hit as a babysitter, and offers two sisters and their brother an entrancing view of family history. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have nonrefundable tickets for a trip to Paris, but their babysitter has canceled on short notice. When all other options fail, mysterious Aunt Sally arrives to spend a week with ten-year-old Melissa, eight-year-old Amanda, and six-year-old Frank, unkindly referred to by his sisters as Pee Wee. With platform shoes that lace up to her knees, and eyes full of mischief, Aunt Sally is unlike anyone they've ever met, and has never been discussed by their father-her brother. Her stories are full of colorful characters, such as a beautiful man who coaxes one relative out of mourning; Mrs. Gunderson, the dog next door; and, of course, their father, Robbie, who was the baby of the family. The stories build on each other, made suspenseful by Aunt Sally's maddening habit of leaving parts of them untold. Some of the stories are downright spooky, especially the ones about the trolls; Robbie was left on the beach with them one night and his and Sally's relationship was never the same. Most sections are also hilarious, as is the snappy and perfectly timed dialogue. Melissa's succinct definitions of entries in Aunt Sally's large vocabulary provide a thread of humor throughout, as does Aunt Sally's faithful regard for Pee Wee despite his dismissive older sisters. After the last laugh, Aunt Sally's hard-won understanding of human nature will leave readers with plenty to ponder. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312384197
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 628,849
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.68 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, and The Canning Season. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    The Best Book Ever Made!!!!!!!!!!!

    hilariously funny,breathtaking stories! you will want to read it again,again,and again! if you want to read a book with trolls in the END that's the book for you.(please read it you might want to buy it from the fabulous store, Barnes & Noble!!!!!!)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2003

    It is a good book!

    This book is really good. It is not bad. The way aunt Sally makes the kids believe in the stories she tell is so good. I wish someone could tell me stories like aunt sally does! It is just a funny book. I love her story about the trolls. It was really intersting. I also liked the chapter the new Mrs.Gunderson. when I first read it. I thought that Mrs.Gunderson was a person but it was not. It was a dog. I really didn't like the ending of the book. It made me want to read more but that was the last page of the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2002

    Trolls

    I have read trolls. It is a funny exciting book that many people will enjoy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    Trolls

    I really liked this book! It was very interesting to read. I loved the way Aunt Sally told stories about her childhood

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2000

    Stereotypes Ruin a Good Book

    As a volunteer literacy reader in public schools, I rushed out to buy this book after I heard about its award and Rosie ODonnell's recommendation. The characters are great and so is much of the story, but imagine my dismay while reading to my primarily African-American fourth graders that the evil trolls have the blackest of black skin, our bad sides are our dark sides, the cruel neighbors who murder their dog just happen to be German, and the mean little girl is also the only one who's fat. All the good characters are white, especially the mysterious, beautiful man who has white hair and blue, blue eyes. I can clearly understand why African-Americans complain about continued stereotypes in literature. Sometimes I wonder if the people giving out the awards have ever read the books.

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