The Boxtrolls is a novelisation of the 2014 movie of the same name released in cinemas this September, published by Oxford. Inspired by the illustrated novel Here Be Monsters (also published by Oxford) by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a chance to learn more about the clever little box-wearing trolls who live under the streets of Cheesebridge. The film features the stunning animation we expect from Laika Studios, who also produced Coraline and Paranoman, and has an impressive cast including Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Toni Collette supporting the quirky fairy tale story. The novelisation brings together the whimsical elements of movie and the wonderful feeling of involvement that only reading a book can offer.
A wacky adventure, The Boxtrolls is not for the weak at heart. Warning: do not read if eating bugs or wiping your nose on your sleeve makes you squeamish! The people of Cheesebridge have a strict night-time curfew to protect them from the Boxtrolls – the evil, bloodthirsty monsters who butchered the Trubshaw baby ten years ago. The streets are kept safe by Snatcher and his team of Red Hats who capture and exterminate any Boxtrolls found on the streets at night. Adventure-craving Winnie Portley-Rind is terrified of the creatures who lurk in the dark (no one will be making her toes into a necklace, thank you very much!) especially after she sees the Boxtrolls pull a young boy into their underground lair…until she comes face-to-face with the same boy the very next day! Suddenly Winnie realises her quiet little town is full of adventure, intrigue and danger. It’s up to Winnie and her new friend Eggs, an orphaned boy raised by Boxtrolls, to stop Snatcher from hurting the Boxtrolls and prove they were innocent after all.
The Boxtrolls teaches important lessons about what it means to be family through Eggs and his relationship with the Boxtrolls and Winnie’s interaction with her cheese-obsessed, distinterested father; while reminding us:
‘there is nothing wrong with a happy ending. Because no matter how often you used one, it never got old or stale or outdated.’
Easily managed by children aged 9 and up, The Boxtrolls offers a great adventure to younger children and the adults who help them. It’s a grand story, regardless of your age, that offers a long cast of weird and wonderful characters, wacky creatures and strange places to explore.
For more Boxtroll fun, pick up the Make Your Own Boxtrolls Activity Book to pop out and build your favourite characters from the movie. Or, you can make your own Fish right now by downloading and cutting out this pattern.
And if you liked the movie and/or the novel, why not go back and read the original story, Here Be Monsters? Or come back next month to read my Here be Monsters review where I will focus on how the original story changed to become a movie.