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Children's LiteratureIn 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