Booklist starred (April 1, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 15))
Grades 2-4. When readers meet nine-year-old Trille and his best friend Lena, Lena is barely hanging onto the rope they have strung between their houses’ second-floor windows, and Trille is frantically hauling his parents’ mattress down the stairs and out to the yard to save her. It’s a fitting introduction, since Lena races headlong into every crazy scheme they concoct, with Trille following close behind. Set in a tiny seaside community in Norway, the story contains other adventures, such as the duo’s amusing attempt to re-create Noah’s Ark with a rowboat and livestock. Although two events threaten to overwhelm Trille with a sense of loss, one ends well and, after the other, he finds comfort in family and friends. Trille’s accessible first-person narrative shares both his adventures and his feelings, which run the gamut from terror to grief to elation. Parr creates a strong sense of the characters as individuals, especially Lena, Trille, and Trille’s grandfather. For all its emotional resonance, the narrative is never soppy. In fact, humor plays a big part in this rewarding book. Published first in Norway and translated into 20 languages, this appealing chapter book has a distinctive setting, plenty of humor, and unusual emotional clarity.