I picked ‘Muncle Trogg’ up on the off chance, whilst in my local library. Something about it caught my attention. My son had enjoyed [[ASIN:0340999071 How to Train Your Dragon]] and Muncle looked similar, in a hopeless pariah sort of way. I’m so glad I did, for in ‘Muncle Trogg’ Janet Foxley has created an enchanting children’s story.
My son (7) loved it from start to finish, begging for more each night. ‘Why do the chapters have to finish in all the best paces?’ I was asked time and again. It had never occurred to me before that good writing, come bedtime, can be a parenting nightmare. There were times I wished a chapter ended with Muncle doing his homework, rather than careering into the sky on the back of a half-tamed dragon.
The story is simple, but its setting and execution are brilliant. Muncle is a giant, only he hasn’t grown, so he is smaller than all his classmates, and shorter even than all his brother’s classmates. Due to his size he is hopeless at all the important giant school subjects, and with his Gigantia exams looming, the future looks bleak for Muncle.
The giants live on the inside of Mt Crumpitt (Just one of the many excellent names in the book, including King Thortless and Muncle’s teacher Mr Thwackum). They used to live outside, where they ruled, by fear, over the ‘Smallings’. Their superiority ended when Smallings discovered ‘magic’ and invented ‘fire sticks’. What the giants have in size and strength, they lack in intellect. With the exception of Muncle; he’s a small giant with a large brain.
The story is entertaining in the extreme. There are a number of routes I thought it may have taken, but Foxley followed none of them. Muncle overcomes various problems of size, and attempts to understand the mysterious Smallings, often with hilarious consequences. Muncle travels to the Smalling world, takes to the stage, and tries to tame a dragon. He also sits his exams.
‘Muncle Trogg’ is never dull, and makes for great bedtime reading. This is one of the best contemporary children’s novels I’ve had the fortune to share with my son. It’s a story with great heart, that remains positive throughout. We cannot wait to start to read the sequel. In fact, we already have!