Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
'The Boxtrolls" was written based off a movie that came out awhile ago. It's available on Netflix but I have yet to watch it. I think the reason I haven't watched it is because I really didn't enjoy the novel, unfortunately.
The novel is written for a much younger age, but that isn't the reason why I don't recommend it. Let's start by recapping the book before I get into my reasons for not liking it.
"The Boxtrolls" is a story of a town, Cheesebridge, and it's two categories of "residents" living there. In the above group you have humans who are oddly obsessed with cheese... as in it consumes their whole lives. Oh, and they have a holiday celebrating the kidnapping and death of a baby that they celebrate every year. Talk about being morbid!
The second set of "residents" reside underground and only come up at night, at their own risk. THese are the Boxtrolls. The name seems to be a pretty literal one - they are trolls that wear boxes. They are also named after the boxes they wear, such as "Fish" and "Shoes". They are fantastic at building, and they have one special "Boxtroll" living among him. His name is "Eggs". While he thinks he's a boxtroll he's quite different looking than the others. He is a little human boy, who's been living with the Boxtrolls for as long as he can remember.
A tradition in the Boxtroll world is that, once you reach a certain age, you are allowed to go on missions above ground to collect resources used to build things. Eggs is desperate to go on one of these missions but, for some reason, no one will let him go. Finally, he gets his break and goes above ground. It is on this first trip that he is seen by a little girl, Winnie. From there his world is turned upside down, as well as the worlds of both sets of "residents" in Cheesebridge.
While this book has the potential to be good, here are my reasons for not liking it.
1) It is hard to follow because of the half-English / Half-Boxtroll terminology that is used. The book bounces back and forth between the two "resident" types in the city, but having different terminology made it difficult to follow at times, which makes me presume that a younger audience might also have a hard time following it.
2) The whole "Trubshaw Baby Abduction" celebration just doesn't sit right with me. I read some pretty messed up things but the celebration and story behind the Trubshaw Baby just doesn't seem like it's appropriate in a book written for younger kids. I started reading this book as a recommendation for my 7-year-old son but honestly, I don't think that it's appropriate for him to be reading about a baby abduction and murder by Boxtrolls and then a whole celebration for the event. While nothing goes into detail, the concept just doesn't sit right with me as a parent.
So, coming from a parental opinion, I don't really recommend this book to the age group it seems to be targeted at. While each parent has a different opinion on what is acceptable for their children to be reading, and I don't dare start attempting to set the standards on what you should and shouldn't do as a parent, I wouldn't let my son read this yet. Maybe in a few years.