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Bera, The One-Headed Troll
by Eric Orchard
First Second, $17.99, 126 pp
Published: August 2016

Another wonderfully illustrated graphic novel for middle-graders from the incomparable First Second.  The glossy heavy paper and the sepia-toned pictures are very attractive.

Bera was a troll who lived alone and one day she found a human baby. The baby was lost by the former Head Troll Witch who came looking for it.  But Bera felt sorry for the baby and hid it.  Not having a clue how to care for a human baby, Bera decides to take it to a local hero thinking he would surely know what to do.  But the journey is harrowing even with the help of creatures along her way.  The hero turned out to be useless so Bera looked for another hero.  He turned out to be even worse and she lost the baby.  With the help of creatures that she had helped, she won the baby back and continued her journey to find a suitable hero to return the baby to the human village.  The third hero was truly a hero but unable to complete the journey and the baby continued to be threatened by the Troll Witch.  Unable to bear the thought of leaving the baby unprotected from the heinous witch, Bera had to make a hard choice.

We (my nine-year-old granddaughter and I) liked the plot very much.  We both liked the artwork although my granddaughter thought the pictures needed more detail.  We both liked the character of Bera and also the friends who helped her.  The three heroes were good characters; we felt sorry for the first one, hated the second and believed in the third. I was surprised a little at the ending; I thought I knew how it would go.  My granddaughter knew better – she saw the ending coming.  ~~ Catherine Book & Adrienne Shana

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