The Three Billy Goats Gruff

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Finch (The Little Red Hen and the Ear of Wheat) and Arenson (One, Two, Skip a Few!) play up this familiar tale's lean but highly satisfying narrative trajectory. With the immediacy and economy of a skilled storyteller, Finch includes just enough sound effects and role-playing opportunities to bring the action to life without weighing down its progress. The troll, for instance, croons a catchy ditty: "I'm a troll, from a deep dark hole,/ My belly's getting thinner,/ I need to eat and goat's a treat / So I'll have you for my dinner." Arenson embellishes her vibrant full-spread collages with stenciling and flourishes, but there's an admirable sense of restraint at work here, in perfect harmony with Finch's voice. With their blocky bodies, bright, mischievous eyes and stylish coats of yellow, pink or aqua, the goats make for a trio of spunky heroes. Their nemesis is impressively grimy, thanks to Arenson's use of fibery brown papers, but he also sports fetching purple toenails. The artist crops her collages to underscore the drama: one scene is composed like an overhead shot, looking down on the littlest goat crossing the bridge as the troll menaces him from underneath. These appealing billy goats put up with no guff. Ages 6-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-As in earlier versions of the familiar story, the goats trick the troll that intends to eat them, but this retelling offers a less-menacing variation. The troll sings his threats to the animals rather than shouting at them, and does not end up as "bits, body, and bones." This kinder, gentler tone is enhanced by Arenson's bright multimedia illustrations. Composed of watercolor, oil pastel, crayon, and stencil work, these collages lend a cheerful tone to the book. The colorful goats, one lemon yellow, another shocking pink, and the third a watery blue, are whimsical, and even the troll is not very threatening. This book may be useful in introducing the goats to a younger, more impressionable audience that may not be ready for the more aggressive traditional tale.-Shara Alpern, The Free Library of Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A classic fairy tale gets a facelift, with collage illustrations and a delightful repetitive phrase sure to rouse smiles. For these three brothers, the grass is greener on the other side of the bridge. So the littlest one sets out to cross the bridge, the home of the fearsome troll: "I'm a troll, from a deep dark hole, / My belly's getting thinner. / I need to eat-and goat's a treat- / So I'll have you for my dinner." As usual, the goat escapes, but only by extolling the virtues of his bigger brother. The second brother goes through the same scenario. Both brothers are now eating the greener grass on the other side of the bridge. But what excuse will the biggest goat give to the troll? There are no bigger goats than he. So he simply kicks him into next week and trots across the bridge. Using textured paper, Arenson (Manu and the Talking Fish, not reviewed, etc.) has created a wonderfully gruesome troll, complete with long nose topped with green wart, wild spiked hair, orange teeth, and purple toenails. He fairly pops off the page, but unfortunately, the rest of her collaged illustrations are comparatively two-dimensional-the bright pink, yellow, and blue seem flatter by contrast. Still, this perky, new-and less violent-edition will delight readers in their traditional quest for the greenest grass. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781841483511
  • Publisher: Barefoot Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,227,896
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Not the best

    Love other Barefoot books, but there is nothing to set this one apart from other books. Highly disappointed.

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