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Old 02-20-2013, 01:03 AM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,865,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linmora View Post
I think the concept sounds a bit strange however hard to tell until the book is read within the full context. I will say one thing...I love the artwork. I love fantasy and this visual style of book is quite lovely to me.

Lizita and others....I think there is a chance to give input to these authors. I certainly hope from some of the comments on this thread you all are doing so. It wouldn't hurt and perhaps make this young couple aware of the deep hurt and psychologically damaging message it is sending to young adopted children that may be reading this book. Time to take action I would say and spread the word!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethreefoldme View Post
BTW, I have contacted them through the FAQ section of their Kickstarter. They have not responded back yet, but I will let you know when or if they do. Those who feel this story is inappropriate should consider voicing their opinion to the author as well.
I've also contacted them. I took Linmora's comment into account and commented more on the article by raising concerns I had about certain comments they had made. I did also comment that I realise that the article may be taking their ideas out of contact and that the book may be different and, if possible, could they let me know more about the synopsis with perhaps some quotes from their book. I also praised their artwork and told them I thought they were very talented.

I tried to be as respectful as possible and hope to hear back from them, so will let you all know if I do.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:53 AM
 
Location: Out West
22,799 posts, read 16,868,958 times
Reputation: 26326
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_K View Post
I'm not sure how a book describing adoptees as trolls is going to help children feel better. From what I gather, the couple take in a troll. The troll magically makes them feel better and as a result, they conceive a child of their own. They no longer need the troll around, but they unselfishly allow it to stay.

I think this sends entirely the wrong message to young adoptees. According to this book, adoptees need to CURE their adopters infertility in order to earn their place as an almost family member.

They've already hit their target at Kickstarter.

Kaysville couple pen kid's book about adoption - Times Union

Tyler and Jill Kirkham have written and illustrated the children's book "The Family Troll." In a roundabout way, the story tells of the magic that can be created when a family adopts a child.

If the Kirkhams raise enough money, they're considering a sequel in which the troll grows to be full-size and, as a "big, big brother," goes on an adventure with the couple's natural child.
The Kirkhams came up with their idea while sitting in their backyard one night. They were tired from their latest failed attempt at conceiving.

But they also admit the story, about a troll who magically transforms a couple, making them a family, also is a bit backward.
"He's not a human," Tyler said.
"He's not a pet, either."
He hopes he can help children who may feel out of place feel better about their situations.
"The story has a double purpose," Jill said. "They do end up having a child, and they end up keeping the troll, too."
There are no words to describe how horrible this is.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:56 AM
 
Location: Out West
22,799 posts, read 16,868,958 times
Reputation: 26326
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_K View Post
The Family Troll, Picture book by Tyler Kirkham — Kickstarter

They've got 179 backers who have collectively kicked in $11,747.

As we have been trying for years now to have a baby of our own, we have talked about adopting a child! Narg the Troll in the book is adopted essentially, and the family grows to love him as their own! Another thing that inspired us to do this story was how comforting our dogs are to us when we get down and depressed after countless failed attempts at trying to have a baby. Its frustrating when something that is supposed to be natural just isn't happening. Its always great knowing we have our dogs here with us to give a good snuggle! They are the Family pets. Like Narg is THE FAMILY TROLL! He is an adopted troll that blesses a young couples lives by helping them forget their worries and stress of not being able to have a baby of their own and just live happy!
OMG, it just gets worse.

As an adoptee, I read it as: You're kind of like our dogs! You're a troll that we have decided to keep after all once we got what we wanted.

Good God, who the hell is backing this?
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:01 AM
 
1,014 posts, read 988,194 times
Reputation: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by Three Wolves In Snow View Post
OMG, it just gets worse.

As an adoptee, I read it as: You're kind of like our dogs! You're a troll that we have decided to keep after all once we got what we wanted.

Good God, who the hell is backing this?
Apparently his cousins who are adopted & other people who like it. This book could come across as racist to some, but that doesn't matter because you can always find ignorant people who want to profit off of other ignorant people.

He could have found a unicorn -- but no. The adoptee has to be a troll.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:05 AM
 
393 posts, read 505,386 times
Reputation: 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethreefoldme View Post
Apparently his cousins who are adopted & other people who like it. This book could come across as racist to some, but that doesn't matter because you can always find ignorant people who want to profit off of other ignorant people.

He could have found a unicorn -- but no. The adoptee has to be a troll.
Where is the Unicorn smilie icon when you need one...
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:14 AM
 
1,014 posts, read 988,194 times
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A unicorn smile would be very appropriate here. lol

This reminds me of reading the Ugly Duckling as a kid. The message in that story was supposed to be a positive one, but the ugly duckling was technically also an "adoptee," being bullied by their siblings/peers for being different... Of course the unintended message being you're different & because you're different you are also ugly. Classic.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:59 AM
 
297 posts, read 419,698 times
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I wonder if the author is doing this just to gain attention? What kind of person refers to a child as a troll and then says they are not human or a pet?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:09 AM
 
10,532 posts, read 8,458,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethreefoldme View Post
A unicorn smile would be very appropriate here. lol

This reminds me of reading the Ugly Duckling as a kid. The message in that story was supposed to be a positive one, but the ugly duckling was technically also an "adoptee," being bullied by their siblings/peers for being different... Of course the unintended message being you're different & because you're different you are also ugly. Classic.
Have to disagree - Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" is largely autobiographical in inspiration, as are many of his other short stories. Andersen was not adopted, but came from a very poor, dysfunctional home. He was physically unattractive, but brilliant, a brilliance resented by his family. Yet he overcame his disadvantages and achieved great social acceptance and major recognition for his writing, just as his "ugly duckling" is recognized as a beautiful swan, once in his proper surroundings with those who see him for what he truly is.

Of course it can be argued that the "ugly duckling" was adopted, though I'd rather term his duckling days poor fostering. The mother duck does care for him and tries to protect him - it's her biological ducklings and others who bully him.

Both Andersen and his Duckling transcended bad beginnings, severe loneliness, and discrimination, and both achieved positive recognition through their natural gifts, beauty of character (and in the Duckling's case, personal beauty as he grew into a swan), and personal endurance and perseverance. I see that as the true message of "The Ugly Duckling", rather than seeing it as a parable about difference equating to ugliness.

It might also be pertinent to note that much of Andersen's humor and deeper meanings escape readers of translations of his works, as the original Danish texts are filled with hilarious puns and references which just don't translate, sadly for most of us.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 02-20-2013 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:51 AM
 
10,532 posts, read 8,458,841 times
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Back to "The Family Troll": I took another, closer look at the website. Here is my critical take on what I saw:

I liked the muted colors and the folkloric backgrounds in the illustrations, but the depictions of the characters - troll and human - left me cold. They are very stereotypically action-hero cartoonish, with a little Japanese manja influence, and seem to represent archetypes rather than real people. Or even real trolls (did I just write that?? Real trolls??).

The backgrounds and lettering do seem to pay distant tribute to the legendary, original home of the trolls of folklore: Norway and Sweden, despite the very derivative nature of the drawing of the characters.

So - perhaps a B- or a C+ for those illustrations. If they didn't include any characters, I'd up that to an A-.

If I were a critic writing to the illustrator, I'd write:

"You are talented and have a lot of potential - but please work on drawing people and expressions more realistically and with greater nuance, and strive for more originality and creativity in your work.

At present, your characters have a very cartoonish look to them, which cheapens the appearance of your work. However, your backgrounds are excellent and your use of soft, muted colors conveys a hushed, magical mood. Unfortunately, that mood is difficult to sustain when your drawings of your characters are done in such a harshly differing style.

You also have a great eye for color and line, and do excellent lettering. You have a great deal of talent and a lot of potential, but need to be more consistent in conveying mood and character through the style of your work."

That troll doesn't bear much physical or personal resemblance to his brother who hung out under the Three Billy Goats Gruff's bridge, or to any of the other trolls in Asbjornsen and Moe's classic Norwegian fairy tales, or even to the cute little troll dolls which gained popularity in the mid-sixties. The story - regardless of the questionable depiction of an adoptee as a troll of any origin or current meaning- seems to be very weak from the description of the plot. Of course, I have not yet read it in its entirety - but presumably it was rejected by various publishers of children's books, or its writers would not be seeking to raise funds for self-publishing. So - were I a publisher or editor addressing the handling of the topic in response to a query from the writer, this is what I'd respond:

"It's clear this is a topic close to your heart, and that you have put a lot of work into your story. I do, however, question much of your knowledge about adoption and the feelings of people who were adopted and their families.

Portraying an adoptee as a "troll" is distasteful and questionable, particularly in light of the current use of the term to describe those who anonymously engage in deliberately provocative and ugly behavior online.

Perhaps, rather than having your troll character being adopted prior to the birth of a child to the parents, you could not only give him a name (I could not find a name for him anywhere - he is just "the troll") but also assign him an important, but different role in the family - maybe a good neighbor or sort of honorary uncle or godfather/protector to the baby, rather than being the adopted sort-of brother but not quite a "real" brother that he seems to be at present.

Your present depiction of the troll inadvertently conveys the message that "he'll do, until we have a REAL child, and he's not really a child, much less OUR child, after all, but we love him, anyway, because he's such a good guy". I am sure that is not what you intended, but after discussing your book with many adoptive parents and adults who were adopted as children, most seem to come away with reactions similar to mine.

Clearly, changing the relationship of the troll from an adoptee to a protective and loving adult who is somehow connected to the family would would change the focus of your book, but it would also make it much more palatable and would help it find a much wider audience. Keeping the troll as an adoptee/makeshift child conveys a very hurtful subtextual message, which I am sure was not your intention at all.

I hope both of you will keep writing and illustrating, but also hope that you will familiarize yourselves with the complexities of adoption, in order to write a book which is truly helpful for families and individuals who are part of the adoption community. Thank you."

Thoughts??
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:31 AM
 
297 posts, read 419,698 times
Reputation: 377
Craig, I have not looked at their website, but I really enjoyed reading your letter. You should send it. Thanks.
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