Jane Yolen,
Boots and the Seven Leaguers:
A Rock-and-Troll Novel

(Harcourt, 2001)

Jane Yolen gives folklore a contemporary tweak in Boots and the Seven Leaguers: A Rock-and-Troll Novel.

Meet Gog, a teen-aged troll with such a passion for the rock-and-troll music of Boots and the Seven Leaguers that he would do almost anything to see them in concert. Since the band only comes to the Kingdom once a year, he doesn't have many opportunities. So when his brilliant baby brother, Magog, suggests that Gog and his pooka best friend Pook try to sign on as roadies for the gig, Gog jumps at the idea.

The plan seems to work, but when Magog disappears, Gog's priorities get a serious rearrangement, especially when it becomes clear that Magog didn't leave on his own. The search takes Gog and Pook straight into the New Forest, a place of wild magic, woodwives, the Weed King and other shadowy night people. With the help of some of these folk, the make their way to the heart of the forest. When Pook is too injured to continue, Gog must go alone and face the Great White Wyrm in its lair. Little does he suspect what awaits him there.

Yolen has a good ear for teen-speak and her translation into the world of faerie is clever and convincing. The straightforward quest storyline is simple and effective, and the characters are appealing and interesting. Snippets from the songs on Boots' CDs head each chapter and are a nice touch. Yolen even defines "rock-and-troll" (via Gog) as what we mundane folk call rock 'n' reel, and she even has Gog rattle off some real life bands' names -- including Boiled in Lead, one of whose members is Yolen's son, Adam Stemple.

For a light and fresh look at Faerie through one of its much maligned creatures, get in line for Boots and the Seven Leaguers.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]

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