Cover image for The trow-wife's treasure
The trow-wife's treasure
Dunrea, Olivier.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm
On the mythical island Nord Eyris, a kind-hearted farmer goes to great lengths to help a mother troll find her missing "bairn."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.D965 TR 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Farmer Bracken Van Eyck lives a quiet life tending to his animals and fields, reading his books, and playing with his dog. When a strange little woman--a trow-wife--comes along and asks for help finding her lost baby, the farmer immediately begins searching. After finding the child, the trow-wife insists that he accept a reward--a hen that soon begins laying golden eggs. Full color.

Author Notes

Olivier Dunrea was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1953. He earned a B.A. from West Chester State College in 1975 and his M.A. in theater and music from Washington State University the following year. Beginning in 1983 Dunrea has written and illustrated more than 50 books for children. The gosling characters Gossie and Ollie are two of his most beloved creations.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Bracken Van Eyck is content with his lot. A kind, generous farmer, he spends his days caring for his animals. When a strange, troll-like woman appears, bemoaning the loss of her trow-bairn (child), he recognizes her as a trow-wife and sets out to find the baby. His rollicking search takes him through the hen house and the pig house, into the barn, and to the burial ground, and all the while, the tricky wind keeps the child just out of his reach. But the farmer persists, and when he finally captures the baby, he is rewarded by the magical trow-wife with a hen that lays golden eggs. Although the illustrations are detailed and striking, they don't quite capture the whirlwind movement of the story. Even so, they contribute enough to help make the book a satisfying tale, with true Scottish flavor. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)0374377928Helen Rosenberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Meticulously yet unassumingly wrought in both text and art, this fairy tale possesses a distinct and ancient flavor. Bracken Van Eyck is more than content to tend his small farm and enjoy the companionship of his loyal dog, Caleb, on a mythical European island. On a typical day, "he worked in the fields. He played with Caleb and read his books. He helped his neighbors if they needed him." And when a distraught trow-wife (a troll-like creature) appears and asks Bracken's help in finding her baby, who has been whisked away by the wind, Bracken calmly assists her. The trow-wife thanks Bracken for his trouble by presenting him with an unusual hen‘one that will deliver a special treasure after a year and a day. Dunrea's (The Painter Who Loved Chickens) spare sentences skillfully convey a colorful adventure, while the trow-wife's dialect ("Can thoo no help me find me bairn?") signals her otherworldly spirit. Bracken's good nature is the star here; the man himself appears almost stoic, his facial features obscured by a wide-brimmed brown hat and a bushy black beard. Precise gouache paintings of realistic livestock, rocky landscapes and barnyard buildings of gray stone vividly depict the isolated islander's world. An exceptional page design sets words and pictures on blue-gray ground, then frames both with slim red lines; these subtle elements suggest the formality of a traditional tale. The trow-wife's treasure becomes not just Bracken's, but the readers'. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3‘A gentle story about a kindhearted farmer on a mystical island off the coast of Europe and the "trow-wife" (troll) who loses her "trow-bairn" and asks his help in finding it. Searching patiently, the man finds the child at last and restores it to its mother. In return, the troll gives him a small black hen, instructing: "Keep her well fed and warm for one year an' a day. Then thoo shall receive a trow-wife's treasure worth having." At the appropriate time, she watches, hidden, as the farmer discovers the hen's golden eggs, satisfied that he will use his wealth to help his neighbors as he had helped her. Dunrea has fashioned a beautiful book with folklike gouache paintings on soft blue-gray paper, enhanced by a stunning layout. Animals, farmer, barn, and outbuildings all stand solidly on rust red thick lines that serve as groundlines as well as borders around the text. Everything on the farm has its place, demonstrating farmer Bracken Van Eyck's loving care for his own, and the ordered and tranquil life that he and his animals lead together. The smoothly flowing text would be excellent as a read-aloud or to share with a child.‘Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.