Troll, goats help encourage children's critical thinking

When Trentham author Bevan Connell decided to write a book to help children understand that people have different points of view, he incorporated three goats and a troll.

The resulting book, Jacob the Troll and the Three Impatient Goats, a twist on the tale of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, was launched at Upper Hutt’s Doris Nicholson Kindergarten on Friday.

The location was fitting for Connell as it was the children from this kindergarten who had inspired him to pen the story, which aims to promote critical thinking.

“It is to remind us how important it is to consider both sides of the story.

“I want children to be critical thinkers,” says Connell.

Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins read the story to the children, who appeared to be engrossed in the yarn.

Hipkins said he enjoyed reading the story, as he especially likes books that promote empathy.

Doris Nicholson student Harper Gillies, 4, said the book made her think differently about the characters.

“I really do like trolls now,” Gillies said.

Connell, who spent time at the kindergarten for his early childhood degree, dedicated the book to the teachers and children.

Early childhood teacher and Connell’s former associate teacher Soreen Scahill said it had opened her eyes to see a book written with the kindergarten in mind.

“Connell has inspired us to look at stories differently and the influence they can have on children,” she said.

Connell said he had wanted children to think from alternative perspectives, so he decided to show them how the troll had felt during the tale.

He is now currently selling the hardcover book on Amazon, and intends to write and illustrate more stories in the future. ? For more information about Jacob the Troll and the Three Impatient Goats, go to

– Upper Hutt Leader


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