cover image Three Cool Kids

Three Cool Kids

Rebecca Emberley. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-23666-9

This visually appealing volume revisits--and revises--The Three Billy Goats Gruff. The ``kids'' of the title are young, city-dwelling goats named Big, Middle and Little Cool; they have decided to abandon their empty lot for greener urban pastures. Unfortunately, a huge sewer rat lives between them and their destination, and as they trot past its lair, the rat threatens to eat each of them for dinner. The goats, of course, persevere and triumph. The text is somewhat banal, but Emberley (City Sounds; Jungle Sounds) generously compensates with inventive art. Eye-catching collages of textured paper in neutral colors evoke a rundown urban environment--pebbly gray stock represents cement; thin strips criss-cross to form a lattice fence. Neatly snipped corrugated cardboard suggests the kids' horns, fibrous material their coats and cottony tufts their beards. Big Cool nibbles a real shaft of grain, and Middle Cool sports ``jingly silver bracelets.'' Crisp, craftsy and, sure, cool. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)