Thursday’s Tale: Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons on September 23, 2002
Genres: Picture Book
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
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Every year, trolls knock down Kyri's door and gobble up her Christmas feast. But this year, the trolls are in for a surprise: a boy and his pet ice bear on their way to Oslo have come in from the cold. And once the ice bear is finished with the trolls, you can bet they won't come knocking next Christmas Eve!

I know it’s only Wednesday, but this tale is just perfect for today, and with tomorrow being Christmas, I doubt many people will be online, including me. I’ve mentioned before that when I was kid we had a wonderful book of troll stories, Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls written by George Jonson and illustrated by John O’Brien. One of the stories in that books is a retelling of “The Cat on the Doverfjell” from East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon. Jan Brett has down a marvelous retelling of that same story in Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

A boy is taking his polar bear to Oslo, but he is cold and hungry so stops at a cabin. Kyri has been left alone in the hut to prepare the Christmas Eve meal while her father has gone up into the mountains to watch for trolls. In past years, the trolls have come down, broke into the house, and devoured the meal, and the pair is determined not to let it happen this time. Kyri lets the boy and the bear in, but of course the trolls do show up, eating all the food and making a mess. The trolls find the bear under the table but mistake it for a kitty. It chases them out and they don’t come back next year. Trolls are many things, but smart is not one of them.

I like that the main characters are kids, but quite competent kids. The illustrations are lovely, depicting the cold land, dark sky and warm hut. The trolls are not exactly ugly, but not cute either, which actually does seem pretty troll like. These are small trolls, with their heads just coming up to the table, but they’re naughty and rambunctious. The bear is impressive, but we know he’s friendly, well except to the trolls of course. He saves the day.

It’s a good story to read with kids today, maybe while nibbling on sugar cookies.

Do you have any Christmas tales you share each year?

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.