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Lola and the Troll is a darling illustrated children’s book about bravery, self-acceptance, how to deal with harsh criticism (and not), why bullies are cruel, and how to successfully deal with bullies. There is also a bit about how adults can help children with each of those issues — issues we all face at one time or another. The well-considered storyline focuses on the narrative while clarifying the specifics of how to manage bullies — and our feelings about what critics say about us. There are engaging and fun details throughout, too, like her several schoolmates’ specific responses to the neighborhood bully, her big hair/tiny knot, and her imaginary friend, Tank, a small dog. The overall impact is engaging AND illuminating.

The illustrations are also a delight. Their clarity, mixed with the darling portrayals, tackle difficult-to-illustrate design issues, remarkably well, including a literal troll (spoiler: it’s a costume) and portraying lots of kids and adults while keeping their designs both unified — in a darling style that my kids and I all adore. It colorfully captures the requirements of the story, in appealing ways, but also helps portray the world as children see themselves and others around them, if that makes sense. I really hope to see many more beautiful and enlightening books from this wise author and her wonderful illustrator!