Three Silly Billies

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"Hold your horsepower," said the little man with a stamp, a stomp, and a snort. "This is a troll bridge. I'm the Troll. Now, start passing the buck."
Bill Bob, Billy Bo, and Just Plain Billy don't have enough money to cross the troll bridge. But by pooling their pennies with the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack, the Three SIlly Billies are able to pay the toll and cross the deep river in jolly good style. And there's a whopping ...

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"Hold your horsepower," said the little man with a stamp, a stomp, and a snort. "This is a troll bridge. I'm the Troll. Now, start passing the buck."
Bill Bob, Billy Bo, and Just Plain Billy don't have enough money to cross the troll bridge. But by pooling their pennies with the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack, the Three SIlly Billies are able to pay the toll and cross the deep river in jolly good style. And there's a whopping surprise in store for the Troll!
As in Earthquack!, Margie Palatini and Barry Moser combine their talents to create an inventive new version of a favorite folktale.

Three billy goats, unable to cross a bridge because they cannot pay the toll, form a car pool with The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack of beanstalk fame to get past the rude Troll.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In this hilarious variation on the traditional tale of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff," Billy Bob, Billy Bo, and Just Plain Billy have packed their jalopy and are "ready to roll." But they are stopped at a troll toll-bridge by the snippy Troll, demanding they "pass the buck." Here a series of ever sillier events ensues, beginning with the Billies pumping up, filling, and jumping into a pool, which they call a "car pool," where they hope others will join them to share the fare they cannot afford. When the Three Bears arrive, also without enough toll money, they jump into the "pool." Red Riding Hood and Jack, of Beanstalk fame, soon join them. The ever angrier Troll finally demands his money. Tossing him a spare tire, Just Plain Billy pulls the pool plug and as the Troll falls into the water they all float across the bridge. The fun concludes with an unexpected arrival. Moser's full-page, believably naturalistic watercolors create a frisky trio of goats, a suburban-like bear family, etc. along with the grouchy Troll with his hard hat labeled "Trollgate Plaza." No words are needed to set up the climax as we watch the bean stalk grow in the final pages. 2005, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-The creators of Earthquack! (S & S, 2002) tackle "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" with gusto. On the way to the beach, the Three Silly Billies are stopped at a small wooden bridge by a rude troll sporting oversize boots and a hard hat marked "Trollgate Plaza." The goats can't scrape together the toll so they pool their funds with those of the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and a skateboarding Jack returning to his mother with some beans. Painted in cheery watercolors, Moser's figures are in contemporary dress and pop out from the white backgrounds. There is plenty of visual humor: the contents of Red's basket are a hoot (e.g., Wulfbanex cream, makeup, and a cell phone) and Baby Bear's T-shirt reads "Jus Rite." In the end, a hungry green giant gives the troll his comeuppance and the final picture shows an "Under new management." sign on the bridge. Palatini's hip and punny text is fun to read aloud, and listeners will silently total the dimes and pennies as they mount toward the required dollar. For an enjoyable storytime, pair this offering with Alma Flor Ada's Yours Truly, Goldilocks (S & S, l998) or Diane Stanley's The Giant and the Beanstalk (HarperCollins, 2004) and invite children to recall even more folktale and nursery-rhyme connections.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Though Moser veers off course on one page, this tale of a temporary traffic jam at the local troll bridge will draw fresh bursts of hilarity from fans of Earthquack! (2002) and similar riffs on familiar folktales. A surly gent who resembles, in characteristically droll, realistic illustrations, a diminutive orangutan in ill-fitting human clothes and a hard hat, stops the jalopy driven by Billy Bob, Billy Bo and Just Plain Billy, demanding they "start passing the buck" if they want to cross the bridge. So they pull out and inflate a plastic "car pool" to raise funds from overheated fellow travelers. Joined by Jack, Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, the three Billys finally wash the troll collector over the side in a climactic but off-stage reversal of fortune, then motor off, leaving the even more disgruntled attendant to face a jolly ("Fee fie fo fum . . . Is that a troll I smell? . . . Yummy yum yum!") green new arrival. Comic flourishes galore in this breezy retelling, though no match for the richness of language and feeling in Patricia Rae Wolff's Toll-Bridge Troll (1995), illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689858628
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 414,156
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Margie Palatini

Margie Palatini is the author of many celebrated children's books, including Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes, The Three Silly Billies and Earthquack!, all illustrated by Barry Moser, as well as Sweet Tooth and Bedhead, both illustrated by Jack E. Davis. She lives with her family in New Jersey. Visit Margie at

Barry Moser has won numerous accolades for his work, including the prestigious National Book Award for Design and Illustration and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. He is both an author and an artist, whose illustrations can be seen in books ranging from Voices of Ancient Egypt by Kay Winters to Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems by Kristine O'Connell George. Barry Moser's work is represented in collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Library of Congress. He lives in western Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 26, 2012

    Fun for Kids

    This was imaginative and creative, but my kids liked it far more than I did. It was a combination of several different fairytales all rolled into one. It was interesting and entertaining at least.

    The Illustrations: I liked the illustrations quite a bit. For the most part, the artwork enhanced the story and made it entertaining. It also worked well with the words to explain some of the parts that were a little vague or hard for kids to understand.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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