Poop! Fart! These are the words that can be so embarrassing for parents and grandparents. And, it is certainly a headache for preschooler and early elementary teachers to try to instill appropriate language in their young students. Well, Farting Four-Toed Troll gives a great opportunity for parents and teachers to talk about these words in a way that is more appropriate. Using this book is a pleasant way to teach children the use of “good” words vs. “bad” words. Introduce the book title and say, “Hmmm, should we say Farting Four-Toed Troll or Christmas Troll? I wonder how the Norwegian or Swedish troll would feel if we called him a farting troll.” You can also introduce manners during the reading of the book as the troll says, “Excuse me” after he lets off gas. Was there a mother troll who thanked him for using his manners? Always talk about kindness to children and different words that are “kind” words that make people feel good. Lavelle Carlson, retired speech-language pathologist, wrote this book for for a couple of reasons. One, she has worked with young children and realizes the pragmatics of communication. There is a way to communicate that makes people feel better and there is a way to communicate that makes others feel bad. We want to teach our children how to communicate in a way that will enhance their social abilities. Another reason Lavelle Carlson wrote the book is to share some fun Scandinavian culture in a light-hearted way. She was lucky enough to live in Stavanger, Norway for nine years and is also married to a second-generation Swedish man. She has seen first-hand a culture in which the people show compassion and care for others. She was also exposed to some of the old folklore of the trolls. Yes, there is a tradition of the Christmas troll who loves the animals and feeds them. The Farting Four-Toed Troll (Christmas Troll) is a fun take on how the troll’s tradition of feeding the animals came to be. I hope this take on the Scandinavian Christmas troll will be enjoyed by all Scandinavians as well as children all over the world. The author has also included on the back page some rosemaling a beautiful folk art of Scandinavia. The illustrator, Donna Day Mathis, has done an exceptional job of capturing the scenery of Norway and the trolldom myth.
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