Monday, June 12, 2017

CHARACTER COUNTS: The Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Three Billy Goats Gruff 
By Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown and Company, 2017. Picture Book

This is a retelling of the classic tale of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Similar to every other version, there is a green valley across a river. The three billy goats decide that they would like to cross to where the green grass is to eat. Only, the way to get to the other side is to cross a bridge where a troll lives. This troll likes to eat animals. And like every other version the littlest billy goat tricks the troll into waiting for the next billy goat. Then the middle billy goat tricks the troll into waiting for the next billy goat. And of course the last billy goat is big enough to take care of the troll.

The one thing that is different about this story (other than the brilliant illustrations that Pinkney created) is that the troll isn’t just butted away from the story—readers will see him meet a similar fate when a giant fish tries to eat him while in the river. However, with the troll’s similar near fate, the troll has a change of heart (which readers can see on the final pages and last endpapers). In the Artist’s Note Pinkney explains why he decided to make this choice to improve the troll's character. All in all this is another great addition to the classic stories retold genre. And as an added bonus Pinkney dedicates the book to all his “fellow Capricorns”, which is a nice and humorous touch. Well done, Pinkney! Well done.

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