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Helga's Dowry: A Troll Love Story
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Helga's Dowry: A Troll Love Story

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Helga, a troll, must somehow acquire a dowry with which to marry or, by the god Odin’s command, be doomed to wander the earth forever. “Richly colored pictures capture the droll humor of [Helga’s] clever, determined fight to garner impressive riches.”--Booklist
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1977 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published February 28th 1977)
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I have always been a huge fan of Tomie dePaola’s works ever since I was a child, with my favorites being of his “Strega Nona” stories (favorites from this series are “Strega Nona” and “Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons”). Now I have stumbled upon a new book I have read from Tomie dePaola called “Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story” and I was absolutely blown away by this book! “Helga’s Dowry” is about a young troll named Helga who wanted to marry a handsome troll named Lars, but because she was orphaned ...more
Helga is an orphaned troll who had found love. The problem is the law requires a dowry to accompany a marriage. Helga suggests that her fiancé troll visit a wise and rich troll for advice. This other troll tells the fiancé to marry his ugly daughter who comes with a pile of riches. The selfish troll decides to marry the ugly troll instead. Helga tries to fix the situation by earning a dowry of her own but encounters a barrier to her plan. Helga learns that love and money can be mean two differen ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an entertaining and empowering story about a clever female troll who does not wait for a man to save her or take care of her. When she discovers that her sweetheart is swayed more by money than her charms, she decides to ensure that she takes care of her own needs. The illustrations are fairly typical for Tomie dePaola's books, and I loved that Helga could pass for being a human by simply tucking her tail under her dress. While it's not specifically about Valentine's Day, it's a great ti ...more
A wonderful Tomie de Paola classic. Helga the penniless troll uses her smarts -- and a little troll magic -- to accumulate the goods for an impressive dowry. In the end it is her cleverness and hard work that wins her true love. Fun illustrations with lots of hidden details for readers to find.
Week 4: Children's Literature

Handsome Lars was in love with Helga the Troll but promises of riches caused Lars to change his mind and marry Plain Inge. Saddened by the thought of losing Lars, Helga asked him to wait for her as she set out to earn her own dowry. Tricking people with Troll magic, Helga slowly gained riches and land; everything needed to persuade Lars. One day away from completed what she set out to do, Helga learns that Lars never planned to wait for her. Helga would rather be alo
Helga's Dowry reads a lot like an old fable. Helga is a young, beautiful troll who despite her physical appeal is unable to get married because she has no dowry, and the rules do not permit marriage without one. When the troll that Helga wants to marry discards her for another, Helga becomes determined to earn her own dowry, by duping humans out of their abundance. Just when Helga is about to claim her new full dowry she is confronted by her troll nemeses, who had been the very troll to take aw ...more

A hilarious tale based on Norse mythology.

Helga is a young troll in love with the handsome troll Lars, but, alas, she has no dowry. So she sets out with her troll magic and own determination to earn her own dowry.

No surprise Lars turns out to be an utter toad who doesn’t deserve the fabulous Helga, BUT there is a surprise appearance at the end of someone who DOES appreciate Helga, and those two live happily ever after.

dePaola takes yet another set of myths and creates a funny story that delight
This is a great book. My niece really liked it, and it's one that my mom read to us when we were little. I love that Helga can make her own way, solve her own problems, and stand on her own two feet. It might be just a tad dated; it is 34 years old, after all, and I do wish there were fewer books for girls involving finding a guy to marry. But still, it's a good tale and I think Helga and Rosie the Riveter would have gotten along splendidly.
This is an underappreciated dePaola story about the feisty independent Helga who sets off on her own to make her fortune. dePaola's original art and text beautifully capture the troll setting making the story look and sound like a northern European folktale. A wonderful picture book, especially if you like strong female characters, yet this is also a sweet love story that will have you cheering at the end for the indomitable Helga.
Carol Hardesty
I'll start by saying that Tomie dePaola was one of my favorite authors as a child. "Helga's Dowry", however, is one of his lesser works. However, it's not Mr. dePaola's fault. You see, growing up in the "post-feminist" 1990s, I had no idea what a dowry was, so I couldn't fully understand the story.
Shuntia Williams
Great book about a female troll who wants to marry the most handsome troll. The problem is she doesn't have a dowry. When she finally has one she realizes that she no longer wants to marry the troll. Good story to read to show how hard work pays off.
I enjoyed this story because Helga the troll showed determination and ingenuity in earning a dowry of her own, and in the end she found a husband who liked her for reasons other than the dowry she'd collected.
This is by far not the most cherished dePaola character, but Helga does have a certain troll charm and wit to her. It does have a good morale to the story though.
Rusty Gregory
"Helga was the loveliest Troll in the three parishes."

Fun story with an unexpected ending.
This is by far, my favorite children's book. I still read it for comfort and reassurance.
i think dePaola writes some amazing children's books that are good for all ages...
Tyler Bruns
A children's book with a story that makes my feminist-side proud.
a cute story about making things better for yourself
Terran Drake
I don't remember this book but I did read it.
Elizabeth Ditty
Great training for future feminists.
Apr 30, 2012 Cheryl marked it as library-to-read
several CLAN, no ILL
you go, Helga!
Kim marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2015
Claire-marie Soria
Claire-marie Soria marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
Rachael Teel
Rachael Teel marked it as to-read
Jan 09, 2015
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
More about Tomie dePaola...
Strega Nona The Legend of the Bluebonnet The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush The Art Lesson Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

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