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Troll Bridge: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale

Troll Bridge: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale

3.2 5
by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple

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A wicked adventure—or deadly…trollble

For sixteen-year-old harpist prodigy Moira, the annual Dairy Princess event in Vanderby is just another lame publicity "op." Moira a dairy princess? Get real. Twelve girls have been selected to have their likeness carved in butter and displayed on the Trollholm Bridge. It's a Vanderby State Fair


A wicked adventure—or deadly…trollble

For sixteen-year-old harpist prodigy Moira, the annual Dairy Princess event in Vanderby is just another lame publicity "op." Moira a dairy princess? Get real. Twelve girls have been selected to have their likeness carved in butter and displayed on the Trollholm Bridge. It's a Vanderby State Fair tradition that has been going on for, like, ever.As far as Moira is concerned, the sooner it's over with the butter—er—better.

About the same time and not far away, three brothers—members of the sensationally popular teen boy band The Griffsons—are in the middle of a much needed road trip to relax from the pressures of their latest tour.

In a flash, however, the kids are suddenly transported to a strange and mystical wilderness where they find themselves in the middle of a deadly tug-of-war struggle between a magical fox named Fossegrim and the monstrous troll Aenmarr of Austraegir. At the heart of the feud is a battle for possession of a mysterious magical fiddle--and an ancient compact between Trollholm and the outer world.

Whatever. All Moira cares about is that eleven of her fellow princesses have been enchanted into a slumber and Moira needs to figure out a way to awaken them…and get home.

Unfortunately for Moira and the Griffsons, nothing in Trollholm is as it seems. Finding a way out of Trollholm may be a lot more difficult than they think.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Drawing elements from ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses' and ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff,' [Yolen and Stemple] give folklore a modern spin in an entertaining tale.” —Booklist on Troll Bridge

“Fairy tale fantasy master Yolen teams up with her son Stemple to offer an entertaining and engaging story.” —VOYA on Troll Bridge

Publishers Weekly
"The tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin gets a modern makeover at the hands of this mother-son team," wrote PW of their Pay the Piper. In a follow-up Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale book that melds The Three Billy Goats Gruff with The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Trollbridge by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple stars 16-year-old Moira, a harpist determined to save 11 girls who were selected to have their likenesses carved in butter but wound up enchanted into slumber. A teen boy band on break from a road trip, a magical fox and, naturally, a monstrous troll all figure into the proceedings. Pay the Piper is now in paperback. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Fantasy, mystery, and danger add to the interest of Yolen and Stemple's rock and roll fairy tale. Magic, music, and contemporary teen life make this title appealing to today's teens. Moira, the heroine, a harpist prodigy, and a small band of three handsome brothers, become endangered. Jakob, Galen, and Erik become separated from each other in the forest and must find each other or be killed. by the trolls. Eleven princesses for the county fair have a spell cast over them and are saved by Moira and the three brothers. Mean trolls as large as trees, and cannibals as well, capture the brothers and plan to make them into a stew for their dinner. The brothers are hung upside down and mistreated by the wicked trolls. The twelve princesses, including Moira, are kidnapped and intended as brides for the unmarried trolls. Music plays a roll in how the escape is carried out. A fox who talks and wants out from under his spell is anxious to get help from Moira and the brothers. But the fox is found to be one of the worst of all and must pay for his atrocious deeds. All the characters are rescued and the book ends happily. The story is based on a new interpretation of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. It is interesting to know that Jane Yolen, author, teamed up with her musician son to develop this book and a series of classical tales combined with contemporary music content.
Noted fantasy author Yolen and her musician/writer son follow their first updated fairy tale novel, Pay the Piper, with this fast and funny story that combines elements from "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" as well as Scandinavian troll legends. Our heroine is an intrepid 16-year-old harpist named Moira. She has been chosen to be a Dairy Princess in a Minnesota town that has an old state fair tradition of selecting girls to be honored in this fashion and carving their likenesses in butter for display on the Trollholm Bridge. However, when Moira and the other princesses show up to be photographed at the bridge, a huge wall of water rises up, along with a monstrous creature, and they are all transported to a magical realm. At the same time, three teenage brothers who are members of a popular boy band take off for a well-deserved break, only to end up in the same strange place. Moira and the boys must resolve an ancient feud between a devious fox and a terrible troll over ownership of a magical fiddle in order to rescue the other girls and themselves. Suspense and humor will keep fantasy fans turning the pages in this action-packed feminist take on traditional fairy tales?—?it's great fun. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2006, Tor, Starscape, 240p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
In the vein of Pay the Piper (Tor, 2005/VOYA August 2005) this book tells another tale that combines the magic of music and fairy tales in a modern setting. Moira Darr is a sixteen-year-old classical music prodigy. Her story begins on her way to a photo op on the Vanderby Bridge with the other Dairy Princesses. But when she and the other princesses pose on the bridge at sunset, they are swept into a world of hungry trolls and a talking fox named Fossegrim, who wants Moira's help to retrieve his magical fiddle. Meanwhile a pop trio, the Griffson Brothers, set out for a well-earned rest from touring but end up at the same bridge where they too are swept into Trollheim. While all the princesses except Moira slumber under an enchantment, the Griffsons are hung upside down to become meals for the trolls, as Fossegrim manipulates events by using the musical talents of the youngest Griffson, fifteen-year-old Jakob, along with Moira. Together they head the rescue attempt by first assisting and then thwarting Fossegrim, as they realize that he is only using them to regain his devious human form. Based on various Scandinavian troll tales as well as The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this story will be popular with the middle schoolers who enjoyed the first Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale series book, Donna Jo Napoli's Crazy Jack (Delacorte, 1999/VOYA December 1999), and other fairy-tale-based stories. Moira is a feisty heroine, and Jakob is a charming and talented foil. Their tale is interspersed with amusing song lyrics that foretell collaboration between Moira and the Griffson Brothers as well as the chatter of two radio hosts who ponder the mystery of the missing princessesand brothers. Faiory-tale fantasy master Yolen teams up with her son Stemple to offer an entertaining and engaging story for middle grade readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Tor, 240p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Mary Ann Darby
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this follow-up to Pay the Piper (Tom Doherty, 2005), the authors have converted "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" into a modern fairy tale that once again has a musical flair. Sixteen-year-old Moira, a harpist, has been named one of the 12 Dairy Princesses in the small town of Vanderby, MN. There is a long-standing tradition of carving the Princesses' heads out of butter and placing them on the Trollholm Bridge during the state fair. But this year, the tradition isn't carried out, and the girls are taken into Trollholm, a magical realm filled with man-eating trolls and a talking fox, Fossegrim. At the same time, the popular teen band, the Griffsons, is taking a much-needed break. When the boys discover the Trollholm Bridge, they too are taken into the troll world. The result is a fast-paced adventure story in which Moira and the Griffsons must escape the great troll Aenmarr. They work together with Foss to rescue his magical fiddle, which promises to send them back to their own world. But all is not as it seems, and the story ends with a grand twist that is totally satisfying. The writing is filled with humor and straightforward prose, and the song lyrics are so well written that one can almost hear the music that accompanies them. Add a touch of romance and you have a great, well-rounded book for teens.-Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The regular Tuesday rehearsal had taken longer than planned because the trombone section had made a hash of their parts. It was already four thirty and Moira was furious. She banged her fist on the steering wheel. She was supposed to be in Vanderby by seven and in her Dairy Princess finery. Yet here she was, not even out of the Twin Cities, fighting traffic, and still in her jeans.

Trombonists are the worst! she thought. Then she spoke her anger aloud: "If I can practice a full solo to perfection while going to high school---carrying a 4.0 average, too---they should be able to get their lives together enough to learn twenty bars properly."

Making a face at one of the drivers who was trying to edge in ahead of her, Moira cursed under her breath. She'd never say any such thing aloud. At sixteen and in an adult profession, she'd learned to use her niceness well. Outspoken---but said sweetly. That was the way to do it. However, this day wasn't going as planned. And Moira preferred things to go the way they were written down in her schedule book.

Easing out onto Route 35W, she slipped a rehearsal tape of her solo into the tape deck, and listened critically as she drove. There was one run that still gave her a bit of trouble, though she doubted anyone---not even the conductor---had noticed. But of course she knew. And who else counts, after all?

Suddenly, she remembered she hadn't phoned her parents, so reluctantly, she pulled over onto the grass and stopped the car. Her part of the driving-alone bargain was to stay in touch. And really, she thought, they aren't asking much.

She turned on the phone, which she'd turned off during rehearsal. Orchestra policy insisted on it. And they were right. Nothing worse than ten different cell phones going off while the musicians were wrestling with a difficult passage. Since it was orchestra policy, her parents couldn't complain.

She glanced at the readout. Yes---three messages, all from her mother. She'd better call before her father got the police involved. Stage parents can sometimes be the worst, she thought. Especially her parents.

Her mother picked up on the first ring. Moira started talking before her mother said hello. It was better if she didn't let her mother get a word in.

"Just leaving the city, Mom," she said. "Got a late start. Not my fault. You wouldn't believe how bad the trombones were. We had to go over their stuff eight times. Eight! Really! What a mess. Maestro was not amused." Of course no one called him Maestro except as a joke. "And they wanted to put me behind the strings. Behind! I reminded Maestro that my contract called for me to be between the winds and the strings so I can hear. Good contract. Thanks, Mom." She could almost see her mother smiling at that.

"Call when you get to Vanderby," her mother replied, the moment Moira took a breath.

"I will." And she would, too, or there went her driving privileges. "Love you."

Next she called Helena, the chief Dairy Princess, to tell her that she was just leaving the city. Helena made rude noises on the phone in return, adding she'd stall everyone when they got to Vanderby. "But get here before it's dark. And don't dawdle." Dawdle was Helena's favorite word.

"I never dawdle," Moira said, meaning it. Then she turned off the phone. There was no time to lose if she was going to make the photo shoot.

She made a face at the thought, though: another photo op. What a waste of good practice time. She'd only tried out for Dairy Princess in the first place because her parents thought the exposure would help her career. The whole thing was supposed to take only a few days of smiling competition, interviews, crowning, a few parades. The event itself had been a bit silly, and a bit sweet. She liked the girls. Well, some of them. Especially Helena, who had a smart mouth. And Kimberleigh, who was a black belt in karate but looked as if she'd never done anything more strenuous than file her nails. The rest of them were pleasant enough, and very serious, or at least serious about being Dairy Princesses. However, not a one of them knew anything about classical music, which was a drag. Their musical tastes ranged from sugary pop to dance, with one---Chantelle---going for rap. Which in Moira's opinion was as close to music as ad copy was to poetry.

But a week of being a DP was about as much as she was willing to invest, with her busy schedule. And here, six days after the last of it, the local paper suddenly wanted to do a full spread in their weekend edition about the controversy boiling up around the new Vanderby mayor, a Mr. McGuigan. Which the princesses were somehow part of, though she wasn't sure how. Since the princesses had each signed a contract to do appearances for a full year---though no more than one a month---Moira had been stuck. Besides, the dairy people had been so accommodating, working the shoot around her schedule of rehearsals, she had nothing left to complain about except that she had to do it.

Shut up, Moira! she scolded herself, as she often did.

By seven fifteen, driving lead-footed all the way, Moira was beyond Duluth and heading toward Vanderby and its Trollholm bridge. Her mother's typed instructions had been perfect so far.

"Thanks, Mom," she called at the window, as though her mother could hear her all the way in St. Paul.

Moira was glad she hadn't driven with the other girls anyway. The time alone had given her a good start on listening to a tape of what would be her newest solo, a piece called "Waiting on the Princess," written especially for her by Daniel Berlin, Minnesota's most famous composer, world famous in fact. He'd never written for harp before, which made the piece very difficult, and it would be a good stretch for her. She was about to play the tape again when a green sign announced the turn for Vanderby.

She pulled off the main road and onto a dirt drive her mother had marked as "Very rural."

"That's an understatement," Moira said aloud, looking at the pine trees that threatened to crowd her off the road. She almost missed the smaller path, her mother had marked in large letters: "DON'T OVERSHOOT."

It was bumpy, so she slowed down to fifteen miles an hour and when that seemed too fast, she downshifted to about eight. Then the trees opened up a bit and there, ahead of her, were several cars and a van parked near a gray stone bridge.

Moira breathed deeply. Made it!

Pulling between Helena's bloodred Acura and the newspaper's gray van, she stopped the car and popped the trunk where her princess dress, crown, and shoes were carefully placed. She leaped out, waving at the other girls who'd draped themselves in various positions along the bridge's low stone walls.

The photographer was already set up and taking some early shots of individuals. Behind them the sun was just starting down behind two towering pines.

"I'm here!" Moira shouted. "I made it."

Helena stood, putting her hands on her hips, and looking every inch a royal. Her Dairy Princess crown glittered red in the sun's rays. "For goodness sakes, girl, stop dawdling and get dressed in your gear!"

"I'll be quick."

The photographer turned and growled at her, "Mighty quick, honey. Before the light goes, please." He moved onto the bridge with the girls, leaning in for close-ups. She could hear him talking rapidly to them, cozening them, getting them to smile. "Like the princesses you are," he said. "Not cheese, caviar."

"Caviar . . ." they replied dutifully, smiling prettily and opening their eyes wide, though Moira doubted any of them had ever actually tasted caviar. She had, at her first symphony gala. The stuff was fishy-tasting and awful.

Moira had just started to turn back toward her car to get into her princess clothes, when she heard an odd, rushing sound, like the timpani in Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring," loud, insistent, pounding. She listened more carefully. No, it sounded more like a train.

But we're nowhere near any train, she thought, looking over her shoulder toward the sound.

And then she saw it, a wall of water rushing down the river, almost as high as the trees. It was heading right toward the bridge---toward the girls and the photographer---traveling with the mindlessness of any natural phenomenon.

Moira spun around and ran toward them. "Get off the bridge," she screamed. "Now!" She pointed to the water galloping their way.

For a moment everything seemed in motion, the girls and the photographer looking up, seeing Moira, hearing her, following her pointing finger. And then, like deer in the headlights, they stopped. None of them moved, not an arm, not a leg, not one step off the Trollholm Bridge.

The roaring water rolled over them---and they were gone.

Copyright © 2006 by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen is one of the most distinguished and successful authors for young readers and adults in the country. She is the author of more than 200 books--including Briar Rose, Sister Light, Sister Dark, Owl Moon, and the immensely popular The Devil's Arithmetic. Her books have won awards including the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, the Jewish Book Award, and two Christopher Medals. SFWA named her the 2017 Damon KNIGHT MEMORIAL GRAND MASTER for her contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.

Adam Stemple is a musician and writer, and the son of Jane Yolen. He lives with his wife and children in Minneapolis.

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Troll Bridge: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
This is a cute story. It has lots of fun characters and the story is exciting and fun. Never a dull moment. Seems to be a cross between "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Three Billy Goats Gruff" with a musical twist which was a nice touch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
music_luver23 More than 1 year ago
when I first picked up the book I thought it sounded really cool, but then when I started reading it I got bored. nothing really caught my eye in interesting or fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually do recomend this. I thought it was very cute. I mean, yeah, how cute can trolls get?..haha but really, it does get you hooked! I liked it a lot. Even though its not really my style!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though she thinks the event is stupid, sixteen-year-old harpist student Moira attends the annual Dairy Princess gala at the Vanderby State Fair as one of the twelve Dairy Princesses whose likenesses are carved in butter for display on the Trollholm Bridge. Still the publicity is important so Moira joins in the festivities, planning to melt away as soon as possible. To her shock, Moira finds her eleven buttery compatriots asleep in some weird mystical way. At the same time that Moira struggles with the sleeping princesses, the Griffsons teen band members take a break from performance as the three brothers are bone weary after completing their last tour. However instead of R&R, the siblings and Moira abruptly find themselves strangers in a strange land where Fossegrim the magical fox battles to save his Trollholm realm and the outer world against his adversary Aenmarr the Troll of Austraegir. To win Fossegrim must gain possession of the mystical magical fiddle and find someone to play it professionally. He enlists the reluctant Minnesotans to assist him when all they want to do is go home. --- The latest Rock `N¿ Roll fairy tale (see PAY THE PIPER) is a fine lighthearted but clever blending of two fairy tales (The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Twelve Dancing Princesses) and real Minnesota events (like the butter sculptures) into a fun save the world fantasy. The four transplants make for a fine story as they just want to go home, but their efforts seem futile as nothing turns out to be what they initially thought. Fossegrim and Aenmarr as much as their realm add to the feel of a fun fairy tale that young adults and ancient geezers like this reviewer will enjoy. --- Harriet Klausner