Hilda is a curious blue-haired girl who decides to go out into the countryside and sketch pictures of rocks. Just looking through the first few panels of the story, one would think there are much more exciting things to draw that are closer to home. She might have chosen to draw her furry little companion, Twig, a fox with small antlers and a bushy tail. She could have done an artistic study of the sea spirit that seems to have wandered up the fjord. But she spends the day hiking around and drawing different rock formations. Then she comes across one that she is sure is actually a troll turned to stone in the sunlight. Could she be right? And if she is, how will the troll feel about the bell she and Twig have tied around its nose? Anyone who has ever had a prank played on them while they slept can imagine the troll's reaction when it wakes up.
Luke Pearson's illustrations capture the wide-eyed inquisitive nature of Hilda. Her artistic tendencies come through in her chic clothing (skirt, tights, boots, beret), as well as in her choice of leisure-time fun. The world Hilda lives in contains normal things like a home and a mother, but also odd creatures like giants, a wooden men, and trolls. She seems to take all her adventures in stride rather well. As she says, "What a noteworthy day." The color palette used for the book contrasts warm golden tones for the daylight and indoor scenes with blues and grays to capture the dreariness of rainy nights. The difference in the two settings emphasizes the cosyness one can bask in at such times.
Readers will enjoy the results of Hilda's adventuresome ways, her collection of odd companions, and her deadpan delivery of lines such as, "We knew the risks. Now we must answer to cruel inevitability." How could anyone not be fond of such an intrepid adventurer?
I read a review copy supplied by the publisher for review purposes.
The book was originally published in 2010 under the title Hildafolk.