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The Three Billy Goats Gruff

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  147 reviews
A classic read-aloud favorite addressing bullying retold by acclaimed artist Jerry Pinkney.

Jerry Pinkney puts his indelible stamp on another beloved folktale in the same vein as the Caldecott Medal-winning The Lion & the Mouse and the highly acclaimed The Tortoise & the Hare and The Grasshopper & the Ants.

When the three billy goats Gruff are hungry, they see bountiful gr
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  627 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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I simply do not know how this picture book could be improved in any respect. Not only has Jerry Pinkney chosen one of my all-time favorite traditional tales, but he's changed it ever so slightly and then shared his thinking process with readers. Along the way, he prompts readers to think about how to stand up to the bullies in their lives and how they can foster change. Of course, the book tells the story of three billy goats who want to reach greener pastures, but are prevented from doing so by ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Pinkney continues his foray into classic folktales with this new book. With its focus on fooling a bully, this is a timely tale to tackle. Pinkney uses great skill to whittle the text down to exactly what is needed to carry the story forward. The book is not a reinvention of the original tale, but instead a focused version of the original that will have children cheering the brave goats. Pinkney does add a nice touch to the end with the troll getting harried himself and then rejected in a clever ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really great retelling. I really love that Jerry Pinkney also include a note at the end about his interpretive choices and the story. Delightful. Of course.
The Library Lady
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who think if it's an award winning author, it's ALWAYS good.
The art is, as always, Caldecott worthy, but that said, it's Jan Brett like. And I don't say that as a compliment, but because a lot of her art work is beautiful, but too complex to harmonize with the storytelling.

Let's get onto the storytelling. I have no problem with fracturing fairy tales, or tweaking them, but here Pinkney adds a "moral" tone to this, where the troll might "learn his lesson." Or "redeem himself."

Barf. Stick with the one, the only, the classic Paul Galdone version of this s
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jerry Pinkney's version of an all-time favourite folk-tale does not disappoint. I enjoyed the fabulous illustrations, the alternate ending and the artist's note at the end of the book. Young children will love to read this book aloud as they will have a chance to dramatize the different sound effects. ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 2-5
Great illustrations for a retelling of an old folktale. There is a different ending as the author explores an alternate handling of a bully. I liked it and think it should spark some discussion. The treatment of the ugly troll was interesting and well-drawn. The author is gifted and expresses lots of emotion through his characters and their renditions on paper. Kids will love this one. Bravo! Highly recommended for Grades 2-5.
Edward Sullivan
Another exceptional folktale adaptation.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Pinkney, Jerry The Three Billy Goats Gruff, 20 pages. Little Brown, 2017. $18. PICTURE BOOK

This is a fairly traditional re-telling of this Norwegian folktale. The three goats try to cross a bridge in order to reach greener pastures, but a nasty hungry troll guards the way. The ending is changed from the traditional story -now the troll learns a valuable lesson indeed and may even make a change for the better. Illustrations are also by the author.

I LOVED this book! It’s a fantastic re-telling! T
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More than one hundred fifty years ago a fairy tale emerged from a far north country. It is a story based on need and greed. The one prompts teamwork to overcome a bully dominated by the other.

Some versions have shown it to be a contest where there are only winners and a loser. The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Little, Brown and Company, May 9, 2017) written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney asks readers to ponder other possibilities. It extends the "what if" beyond the story's ending.

My full recommen
Allie Gearhart
Reading Level: 2.9

The three goats in The Little Billy Goats Gruff work to make their way across the bridge where the grass is greener and all of their friends reside. The evil troll under the bridge won’t be quick to let them pass, for he is hungry!

This story is a traditional story that has been told for ages as a folklore, making it traditional literature.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff would be a great mentor text for organization. The story has an obvious pattern throughout it as the goats make t
Abby Bauernfeind
In this story, the goats are tempted to cross the trolls bridge with the promise of lush, green grass on the other side. The troll is portrayed as mean and scary but he unwillingly lets the goats pass by one-by-one only to be scared off the bridge by the biggest goat. The lesson regarding bullying is clear to the reader as the goats each took their turn standing up to the troll and built up courage to overcome his mean actions. The folktale was told in a different way which was successful for th ...more
Illustrated in watercolor & pencil

Jerry Pinkney gives his own twist to the classic story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Very busy illustrations, lots of action and noise - which are appropriate. My favorite elements are the troll and the crow. The troll is SO creepy, adorned with fish bones and fish heads...and the crow often mirrors his actions, such as the double-page spread with the littlest billy goat crossing the bridge and confronting the troll. Both the crow and the troll are in the same
Becky B
Pinkney retells the classic story of a troll, the bridge he guards, and three billy goats who want to cross the bridge.

Hands down this is 1) the best illustrated version of this tale, and 2) the best ending to this tale (which Pinkney added his own twist to...don't miss the end papers!!!). That said, I think Pinkney's troll would have scared me as a child. He is green, and ugly, and has a tail. On the other hand, his goats are so realistic and the littlest one is adorable. Childhood me might hav
Taylor Rench
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
Jerry Pinkney's book is very engaging from the timeless story to the intricate illustrations. Pinkney tells a story of three billy goats trying to cross a bridge to get to the green grass of the other side of the river. They cannot cross the river, since there are fish bigger than they are in it! the first two cross individually saying that the next goat will be bigger and much better for the troll, who guards the bridge, to eat. When the third billy goat crosses, he smashes into the troll and t ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Jerry Pinkney never disappoints me--I was so eager to read/experience his interpretation of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. It's a winner. Not a page or space is wasted from front inside cover to end cover there are details to relish and ponder that tell more of the story like the progressions of the illustrations per goat. You'll love the title page--clever use of the bridge and all the characters. The story is mostly traditional and has always been my favorite to story tell. Now with Jerry's new, ...more
Hannah Holthaus
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved this story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. The illustrations were super detailed and engaging and the story went perfectly well with the photos. In this story, there are three billy goats who need to cross a bridge to get to more land but they have to get away from the troll under the bridge. When the first goat passes, he convinces the troll that he is too skinny and that a bigger goat was coming, so the troll let him pass. The second goat came and he again convinced the troll th ...more
Scott Jordan
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Author: Jerry Pinkney
Awards: Publisher's Weekly: Best Books of 2017

Summary: Jerry Pinkney delivers and a new version of the classic tale with a new twist to the ending. There is still a greedy troll who bullies Billy Goats and still gets his comeuppance, however in way that might just make him rethink his choices...

Review / Application: This retelling would fall into the category of a genre exploration of Fairy Tales. It may be reviewed with first-grade student
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the alternate ending. It is cool to see the troll not only get knocked off the bridge, but also get a taste of his own medicine. I think it gives the story a deeper meaning and will provoke more in depth conversations between the reader and listener. My only complaint is that we are not really told why the fish chooses not to eat the troll. It is stated that the troll was probably "a bit too sour and green" to eat, but how did the fish come to this conclusion? By looking at the troll, or ...more
Juliana Lee
Reinvented classic story. The three billy goats take turns crossing the troll's bridge to the other side of the river to eat the green grass there. Each one encounters the troll who threatens to eat them and they must use their wits to cross over. When the largest of the billy goats throws the troll into the river, this retelling takes a new turn... this time, the troll encounters a huge fish who threatens to eat him! As the story goes, the goats live happily crossing over the bridge from one si ...more
Rachel Doran
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
In this book, there is a river and on one side of the river, there is no green vegetation, it is gruff and rugged, this is where the Billy goats live. On the other side of the river, the grass is green and lushes and the sun is always shinning. However, there is troll under the bridge that does not let creatures pass through. Three Billy goats outsmart the troll and ram him off the bridge allowing for the rest of their Billy goat friends to follow to the green side of the river. There are many v ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this gorgeous rendition of a traditional favorite! Troll gets a taste of his own medicine. In the end note, Jerry Pinkney tells us, "I invented the character of the giant fish to offer a way for the troll to recognize what he'd done to others and to experience his word-bullying from another point of view." Further, later on in the note he says, "Ultimately it was only my imagination, however, that could invent the characters of these ever-so-relatable billy goats Gruff. They are, like man ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love what Jerry Pinkney did to modernize this tale and add a different ending than the victim resorting to violence. In Pinkney's version, "Readers can still cheer for the underdogs -- even when the troll gets his due--but careful observation of the endpaper art may be left with the sense that there could be a turning point in this relationship. ....Has the troll learned his lesson? Does he redeem himself? Is forgiveness an option for the goats? Can these characters ever have a peaceful coexiste ...more
Another beautifully done folktale by Pinkney. He changes the ending of the story a bit to give the troll a chance at redemption. I do remember my grandma reading me Ellen Rudin's version The Three Billy Goats Gruff when I was little, and I think the new ending didn't sit well with my fond memories. However, what he did was very noble- giving the troll a chance and all that...

As usual with his folktales, don't forget to check the end pages!
Amy Layton
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jerry Pinkney is probably one of the most talented watercolor artists I've seen.  There's just something about his art that is beautiful and realistic and fun all at the same time.  Pinkney is also one of the most masterful story retellers I've seen--everything he writes is just so genuine and pure, especially as it relates to the source material in regards to children today.  I can easily see why this is a contender for the Caldecott.

Review cross-listed here!
Zan Porter

As usual, Pinkney's beautiful illustrations add dimension to the classic folktale. What makes this different from the traditional story is the slight twist to the story, leaving it open for the troll to learn his lesson and receive redemption. An artist's note makes reference to the need to bravely stand up to bullies - the "trolls" we might run into in real life. The dedication of the book also made me smile: "To all of my fellow Capricorns." :)
Carol  V
The Three Billy Goats Gruff has been one of my all-time favorite stories. I read it many times as a child, and years later, I shared the story with my children and students. Jerry Pinkney shares this Norwegian tale of the 1800s with the same sense of humor, fright, and suspense, but he also showcases anti-bullyism, facing consequences, living by the golden rule, and forgiveness! The illustrations are filled with wonder and emotion! A must read!
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have mixed emotions about the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, viewing it as a bit of a violent saga, without much redeeming virtue.

PInkney seems to recognize this, and if you look closely at the endpaper you will see how the goats are cooperating with the troll, so maybe the troll learned his lesson.

of course, just great illustrations, and a familiar, yet slightly modified storyline.
Sinking into Jerry Pinkney's illustrations is something I like to do, and knowing the original story only enhances the enjoyment of this one. Pinkney has imagined a different story here, with a little bit more thoughtful comeuppance for the troll bully, and a lesson to discuss with readers. The story cleverly begins and ends in the endpapers, meaning 'more' story. I enjoyed this old fairy tale a lot! ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cvtc-child-lit
Caldecott medalist Jerry Pinkney's version of the story. It's a silly, and repetitive story, about 3 Billy goats who want to cross the river to a field with lots of grass to eat. In order to get there though they have to cross a bridge which is guarded by a mean troll. Great story for a read aloud for younger children. Also, a great interactive story because it has repetitive lines on multiple pages. ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story tells about billy goats that want to get to the other side of the bridge for the sweet green grasses. They have to cross a bridge guarded by a mean troll. One by one the billy goats cross the bridge, standing up to the troll. Finally, the last billy goat pushes him into the river where he is nearly eaten. The billy goats are happy and the troll learned his lesson. This story is very nicely illustrated and gives a very important message as to many tales from long ago.
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JERRY PINKNEY is one of children’s literature’s most time-honored artists. He has been illustrating children’s books for over 40 years and has more than 75 books to his credit. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honor books and the winner of the Caldecott medal for The Lion and the Mouse. He has also won the Coretta Scott King Award five times, the Coretta Scott K ...more

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