THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF

Mary Finch, Retold by, Roberta Arenson, Illustrator, Mary Finch, Author , illus. by Roberta Arenson. Barefoot $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84148-349-8

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.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84148-351-1
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84148-145-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-34339-8
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84686-072-0
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-78285-305-3
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