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The Three Billy Goats Gruff

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This classic story is a favorite with toddlers, who will cheer on the three clever billy goats who outsmart a mean troll. With plenty of repetition, this adventure is perfect for reading aloud and for joining in, and a satisfying ending provides a reassuring touch.

32 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1841

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About the author

Paul Galdone

315 books75 followers
Paul Galdone (1907 - November 7, 1986) was a children's literature author and illustrator. He was born in Budapest and he emigrated to the United States in 1921. He studied art at the Art Student's League and New York School for Industrial Design. He served for the US Army during world War II.

He illustrated nearly all of Eve Titus' books including the Basil of Baker Street series which was translated to the screen in the animated Disney film, The Great Mouse Detective.

Galdone and Titus were nominated for Caldecott Medals for Anatole (1957) and Anatole and the Cat (1958). The titles were later named Caldecott Honor books in 1971.

He died of a heart attack in Nyack, New York. He was posthumously awarded the 1996 Kerlan Award for his contribution to children's literature. His retellings of classic tales like "The Little Red Hen" or "Three Billy Goats Gruff" have become staples.

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5 stars
7,435 (47%)
4 stars
4,321 (27%)
3 stars
3,242 (20%)
2 stars
547 (3%)
1 star
120 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 401 reviews
Profile Image for Matt.
3,730 reviews12.8k followers
November 18, 2017
The Three Billy Goats have found that their current abode is devoid of much in the way of scrumptious grass and other grazing options. When they locate a field across the way, all they need do is cross a bridge to find fresh options. This bridge is guarded by a troll, whose main interest is to devour the goats. The smallest argues that he is too petite, the middle one speaks of his larger brother about to cross, and the largest... well he takes matters into his own hooves. Neo laughed, having not heard this story before, but knows that violence does not solve anything.
Profile Image for Almira.
545 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2019
Of all the versions of this classic, Paul Galdone's is my absolute favorite.
His illustrations are OVER the TOP! Can't think of a better Troll then Paul's.

You know the story, so I will leave this review with...….."So, snip, snap, snout. This tale's told out."
Profile Image for Melki.
5,804 reviews2,343 followers
December 3, 2019
I never realized until this reading just what a strange tale this one is. The moral seems to be that the way to deal with a bully is not through kindness, or cleverness, but with a bigger bully. Weird, huh?

But, I did like Galdone's artwork, so there's that . . .

Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,593 reviews524 followers
April 27, 2009
Every child should be exposed to the work of Paul Galdone. He took classic fairy tales and told them in language that keeps the cadence and style of the originals, yet is accessible to a preschooler. His illustrations were strong and bright-- no cluttered margins as in Jan Brett, no Janet Stevens dressed up animals--just clean, clear pictures that are extremely visually pleasing.

This title is one of the best examples of that work--complete with the "Snip, Snap Snout, this tale is out" ending straight from Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's Norwegian Folktales. This is THE version of that tale--and there are many other titles to enjoy.

Your library SHOULD have them. If they don't have these and have Disney crap instead, find another library!
Profile Image for Nathan "N.R." Gaddis.
1,342 reviews1,330 followers
June 20, 2015
Hell yeah! The nostalgia that bubbles through whilst bouncing around gr. Haven't seen/thought of this little nugget since I was young enough to be targeted!! Didn't even know it was Norwegian. Didn't know I was surrounded by Norwegian descendents at the time either. Here's to the Sons/Goats of Northern Darkness :: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BstHb...
9 reviews
November 23, 2012
This book is about 3 billy goats called Gruff,Gruff,Gruff who want to cross the bridge and get to the meadow on the other side in order to get some delicious grass. However a wicked old troll lives under the bridge and he gobbles up anyone who tries to cross the bridge. The littlest billy goat is the first to cross the bridge,when the troll tries to eat him the goat tells him that the second billy goat is much much bigger and fatter. The troll decides to eat the middle sized billy goat instead.When the second billy goat crosses the bridge and sees the troll,he tells him that third billy goat is much bigger and much fatter than him. The troll decides to eat the big billy goat gruff.However when the third billy goat crosses the bridge he bends his head and uses his horns to push the evil troll over the bridge.
This book is aimed at children in Nursery and Reception. It can be used to teach them about different sizes,they can also discuss whether they are the eldest,the middle or the youngest child in their families. In addition,you can discuss the types of food goats eat.
Profile Image for Kelly Beigl.
13 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2019
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone is the most straightforward folktale story you can find. For this story in particular it is very easy from the beginning to pinpoint the genre. This story starts with the ever so classic line of “Once upon a time”. It can be assumed that this story has been told orally for many years and was eventually turned into a children's story book, but the author of this book is most likely not the original author of this story.
Another element of this story that helps the reader to identify that it is a folklore is its lack of character development. We are given very little information about the three billy goats and troll in this story. The three billy goats are briefly described by their 3 sizes varying from small to very large, and we are told that they are all named Gruff. The troll in this story was said to be “as mean as he was ugly”. For more modern stories the characters are developed much more. These folklore stories have been passed down orally and in writing for many years so over time they loose specific information and details that may have originally been apart of the story.
I think this book would be perfect to use in a classroom if I were teaching about different types of genres. I feel as if this folklore is very straightforward and to the point, containing many indicators of its genre in the text. The “once upon a time” feel this book gives is a classic that isn't found in more modern stories.
Profile Image for Taylor Hart.
30 reviews
February 6, 2018
The Three Billy Goats Gruff is a time old fairy tale about three goat siblings that are very hungry. They've run out of good grass to graze on in their valley so they must travel up the meadow to where the greenery is plentiful. To do this, however, they must cross a bridge that a mean and ugly Troll lives under. The goats, being extremely hungry, decide to chance it. The littlest goat crosses first. When confronted by the Troll, who wants to eat the animal, the little goat holds him off by convincing him that his older, much larger brother will be by next. The middle goat is also able to trick the Troll into waiting for the third goat to pass over. When the third and largest of the goats Gruff comes clicking across the Troll's bridge the troll pops out and claims he's going to eat the goat. The goat, unafraid and quite bravely, shouts, "Well, come along!" The goat butts the Troll with his horns, tramples him with his hard hooves, and tosses him into the river. The goats are then free to pass to the green hillside where they can eat to their hearts desire. I think this is a cute tale about sticking together to help your fellow brother and sister (whether related by blood or not.)

(Original Fairy Tale)
20 reviews1 follower
November 28, 2017
The story of the three Billy Goats Gruff is a great story that has been around for along time. The story talks about the three Billy Goat all named Gruff. They lived in a valley that did not have much free grass for them to eat. So they decided to go up stream to find some. All of a sudden they came across a bride where a mean old troll liver.The youngest Billy goat decided to go over first and that is when the mean troll cave out and said "he was going to eat him up"the Billy goat replied with I'm just really skinny and trying to get over to the meadows to eat some grass and fatten me up. The mean troll let him through. This continued till the last Billy goat tried to come over and the troll replied with "I am going to eat you up". The billy goat replied with " ok try it I have four huffs and 2 horns" So as the troll tried to get on the bridge the Billy Goat Gruff butted him with his horns and trampled over his hooves and then.....
This book has a double page spread(bleed) where the pictures are spread over two pages and the words are only on one. This book also contains front matter and very colorful pictures.
12 reviews
May 18, 2016
I read this book to my year one class and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it brought back so many memories from my childhood. The story is about 3 goats who need to cross a bridge, to eat grass on the other side, in order to survive. However there is a troll who lives under the bridge and he stops the 3 Billy Goats from crossing. The billy goats devise a plan and trick the troll into letting them cross.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
4 reviews
July 9, 2012
This picture book of the widely known norwiegan twist of the three little pigs was amazing. The illustrations were vivid and pleasant to the eye. The text followed along with each illustration making it clear and understandable for even the youngest reader. Overall I give it a perfect five stars and salute Paul Galdone for another masterpiece.
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,491 reviews469 followers
September 8, 2015
A wonderful read from my childhood, one I’d certainly suggest for other youngsters. Whilst it is not my all-time favourite childhood read I can still recall all the details of this one meaning it certainly left a lasting impression upon my young mind.

And isn’t that what we want with children’s books, for them to leave a positive lasting impression?
Profile Image for Neva.
48 reviews1 follower
May 9, 2019
the three billy goats are starving. they need to eat but the do not have any green grass left. so they try to get to the other side of the rushing river. But there was only one way. to cross the river on the bridge. But under the bridge lived a very mean troll. Read the book to find out more!

Neva Horning
54 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2019
A classic goodies v baddie tale where the trickery of the goats is matched by the good faith or naivety of the troll. The high quality of the illustration really added a lot to the story. Could be enjoyed by early years and KS1 classes
Profile Image for Helen.
791 reviews9 followers
May 17, 2021
I read this to my yr 3 class.
It brought back memories of my now 12 year son screaming the place down every time someone mentioned the troll under the bridge.
20 reviews
February 18, 2021
Text-to-World Connection: The gruff moral of three billy goats are not to be greedy. If the troll hadn't been greedy, he would have had the first and the second goat a big meal. The troll decided to be greedy for the biggest reward, though and ended up under the bridge in the water. If we want to be greedy in life and want more and more without being appreciative of what we have in front of us, at some stage later, it will all fall, which is a situation that no one wants to be in!
Profile Image for Michael Hitchcock.
120 reviews5 followers
July 30, 2018
I love the kinds of stories where a character says to a monster "OH DON'T EAT ME MY BROTHER IS SO MUCH MORE DELICIOUS" or "I WILL BE SO MUCH MORE DELICIOUS LATER" or etc etc. It's a great trope and it's a great life lesson. The monsters of this world are always just self centered enough that they can believe you when you take their view into account.

I love the grey area ambiguity of modern stories, but the old stories like this one where the troll is clearly intended to just be evil are also satisfying in their own way. Where a modern story will go through many stages of editing and readers and rewriting, these types of myths go through a Darwinian kind of editing process over time (until the advent of and worship of print halts the process and changes it forever) that leave just the purest forms of the story to be passed down.

Don't fight the troll, tiny child. Don't threaten the troll. Trick him and get away. It's a fine lesson.

This one, like so many of the great myths and fables uses a repeating catch phrase that kids love to hear and squeal about and imitate and hyper intellectual adults can use to trace the development and reflection of themes between sections and hummmmm about while stroking chins and beards. WHO'S THAT TRIP TRAP TRIPPING OVER MY BRIDGE. It's a good one.

The art for this particular edition is great. The troll's hair is wild and the goat's eyes are vivid and intelligent. Everything is Earth toned, even the blue of the troll's nose. It's easy to look at.

The points of view of the pictures are great too. When the small goat is tripping over the bridge, you just see his little nervous face glancing over the side while most of the two pages is taken up by the immense bridge. The second goat is depicted from above, covering about half of the area of the page while the bridge he's standing on fills up almost the rest. They're almost equal to one another in size. The third goat takes up most of both pages and you cannot see the bridge at all. It's a great buildup.

The book is full of artistic flourishes like that worth looking into but the pictures are never too busy. They're just right.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
50 reviews
November 11, 2019
This book was one of my favorites when I was younger! Its about three billy goats who are brothers. There is a small one, a middle one, and the oldest/biggest one. They decide they want to go over across the bridge to the valley to eat lots of grass and get fat. But little do they know a mean troll lives under the bridge. Some the smallest goat crosses the bridge, and the troll tries to eat him, but he billy goat says that he should wait for the next billy goat cause that one is much bigger. So the second billy goat comes and the troll tries stopping him, but the goat suggests to wait for the other brother. So the big brother comes and the troll tries eating him but the big billy goat throws him over the bridge and into the water. To me, the message of the book expresses that karma will come around to those who are mean. In this case, the troll got karma by getting thrown in the water for being mean. This book also sends a message that family should always be there for you and you should be able to trust family. I felt happy while reading this book because it reminded me of when I use to read it with my grandma when I was little. I read it with the exact same voice and tone as she use to read it to me which made me feel warm inside. The illustrations were very simple and sharp. The pictures took up all pages of the book. I remembered it exactly how when I use to read it when I was younger.
20 reviews
December 3, 2017
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone, is a folklore about three hungry goats. A small one, a medium one and a large one. They need to cross the bridge with an ugly mean troll underneath of it to get to their food. I’ve rated this book at 4 stars because it’s a memorable classic. I enjoyed how the author used detail to explain a lot of things like the kind of food that was on the other side of the bridge. I thought it was unique that the goats did not just mention that they wanted to eat but they said that they wanted to get fat and I thought that was pretty funny. The age group that this book is intended for is grades pre-K through second grade. I feel that this book would be appealing to young readers for many reasons but one odd reason I feel it’s appealing to younger readers is because this book is not all “flowers and roses“ it actually has some negative and a little violence and that’s not such a bad thing because it shows children that everything is not perfect. I feel that these folklore books with just a bit of confrontation kind of breaks the ice for young children when something a little negative happens in real life. This way it won’t be such a shocker to a child. While reading this book to students I just can’t wait for one of them to ask the number one question, “Why didn’t the biggest Billy Goat just go first?“ ;-)
4 reviews
February 7, 2020
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone and Peter Christen Asbjørnsen is a folktale that originates from Norway. The three Billy goats eat all the grass on one side of the river. They notice green grass across the river, but to reach the grass, they must cross a bridge with a troll that lives underneath and wants to eat the goats. All three goats are able to outwit and fight off the evil troll. It is a very lighthearted story that is good for young ages, but enjoyable for anyone.

Observation: This book it a classic story that involves some trickery.

Connection: I was told this folktale as a kid, but I did not know it originated from Norway!

Surprise: I was surprised that this story has goats which are realistic animals, but a troll which is a fairy tale creature in the same story.

Question: I wonder if some parents don’t tell this story because they goats choose to handle the conflict through trickery and power which is not always a good way to teach conflict.

Opinion: There are many books of this folktale, but I enjoyed Galdone’s artwork in this version more than other books.
54 reviews2 followers
October 3, 2017
This is the story of three brother goats who would like to cross a bridge to get to the other side where the grass is greener. However, underneath the bridge lives a big, scary, and ugly troll who threatens to eat them up if they cross his bridge. How do the goats figure out how to get across alive?

This is a cute classic that I read as a child, and I could probably read it to any age group. It has fun onomatopoeia's and word play, and deals with strategies for how to get the three goats across. I could also use this in my classroom when talking about goats, brothers and how they stick together, or even bullying. That troll was a real bully if you ask me, and someone had to stand up to him! I would definitely keep this in my classroom library.
Profile Image for Stacie.
1,835 reviews
September 27, 2018
I’m adding a star ⭐️ with this re-read. I know this book was read to me as a child and it just holds up. The pictures are amazing. The goats so full of personality, the troll so wild. The dramatic tension palpable. The resolution a bit mean - respect for trolls is still lacking in our culture - and overly violent, which allows the opportunity to discuss whether the ends justify the means with your five-year old. A proper storybook.
Profile Image for Goshen PL Childrens.
1,417 reviews26 followers
June 4, 2021
Read at Storytime on June 2, 2021
Theme: Fairytale, Fabled, and Folktale Animal Stories

Read at Storytime; October 9, 2019
Theme: Stories G, H, & I stories

Read for Storytime, February 15th
Theme: Fairy Tales

My favorite version of this tale. The kids love making the hoof noises while stomping their feet to cross the bridge!

Read at Storytime on February 6th
Theme: Fairy tales, The Story of 3

Read at Storytime on February 12th
Theme: Fairy tales, The Story of 3
Displaying 1 - 30 of 401 reviews

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