Trille and Lena are neighbours and best friends (at least, one half of them is), living in the Norwegian village of Mathildewick Cove. Lena is bold, brave and prone to adventures that leave her concussed. Trille is sensitive, caring and prone to look at his feelings to check their authenticity.
Joy, fun and adventure tumble out of every chapter of this book, as Trille and Lena try to make Noah’s Ark with real animals on a real boat, as they bury all the family radios to emulate war time Norway, as they discover the power of cow muck in extinguishing flames and as they rescue a horse first from slaughter and then from a barn fire, with little thought of their own safety.
Friendship is tested at every point in this story, and is never found wanting. But it is about much more than loyal friendship. It is about fear, separation, loss, death, families of various shapes and sizes, humour, love, community and security, with frequent glimpses into Norwegian culture. It pulls no punches about the complexity of relationships, but at the same time shows real people who build those relationships through strong communication.
This is a perfect book to read aloud to a class, or for individual reading. It will make you laugh out loud, cry, hold your breath and sigh with relief. But throughout it tells an authentic story through the eyes of one sensitive and caring young boy who hopes above hope that he is Lena’s best friend. You have to read to the very end of the novel to find out the answer.