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The Three Billy Goats Gruff: A Lift-the-Flap Fairy Tale - Nick Sharratt

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Nick Sharratt, Stephen Tucker / Pop-Up / 24 Pages / Book is published 2005-07-01 by Macmillan Children's Books

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      16.10.2007 08:03
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      A successful re-telling of the traditional tale.

      - The book -

      This is a re-telling of the traditional story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. In my youth I was a big fan of the traditional tale and particularly enjoyed the chant of “Who’s that trip-trapping over MY bridge”….however this book doesn’t use that chant but is still an enjoyable re-telling of the tale.

      The story is cleverly told in rhyme, the second page of which I have shown below to give you an idea of the content:

      ‘Now over the stream they could see a fine meadow,
      As lush and as green as could be.
      “It’s time,” said the youngest “to cross the red bridge”
      And his brothers just had to agree.

      What brave billy goats!
      For each of them knew that under the bridge in a shack
      Lived a horrible troll who kept watch all the time,
      And goat was his favourite snack.’

      As the traditional tale goes, the smallest billy goat crosses the bridge but the troll leaps out…. The clever young goat tempts the troll by saying:

      “Oh please, Mr Troll, don’t eat me!
      My brother is bigger, he’s coming this way
      He’d taste better than me, I am sure.”

      “In that case,” the troll said, “I shall let you pass.
      Just don’t come round here any more.”

      And so the story continues and as the traditional tale goes, the largest billy goat succeeds in overpowering the ugly troll and the three trolls end up eating the sweet grass of the meadow on the other side of the bridge.

      - Style, Format and Illustrations -

      Given the story, the book has quite a lot of text. Despite this, young children are still able to re-tell the story due to the rhyming text and also the fact that many may have already heard the traditional tale.

      The illustrations are very bright and colourful, far more appealing to the younger children of today in comparison to the old Ladybird book that I was introduced to way back in the early 70s!

      The main difference is that the goats wear clothes, walk like humans and wear backpacks for their journey to the meadow whereas in the original version, goats were goats in terms of how they walked and they certainly didn’t wear any clothes!

      Apart from the rhyming text which is great, another major appealing aspect of this book are the lift-the-flap opportunities, encouraging active participation and intrigue as to what is under each flap. Most of the flaps have the troll hidden behind them, with an apron, chef’s hat on and wielding a cooking utensils. Others picture the troll imagining different ways of cooking each goat, a pie, a goat curry with naann bread and finally a goat burger!

      This book will appeal to children from about 2 years upwards and even younger, depending on their ability and levels of concentration. Just watch out for the flaps not being ripped in certain places as they flip them open with not so careful little hands!

      - About the author -

      Those of you who are used to children’s picture books will no doubt recognise Nick Sharratt’s name as being the illustrator of many picture books, working alongside a range of authors.
      However he does sometimes go out there on his own, writing and illustrating his own books:
      ~ Caveman Dave
      ~ Dinosaur’s Day Out
      ~ Monday Run-Day
      ~ Mr Pod and Mr Piccalilli
      ~ Mrs Pirate
      ~ Pirate Pete
      ~ Smart Aunties
      ~ Faster, Faster. Nice and Slow!

      Nick Sharratt studied graphic design and began drawing humorous illustrations for magazines and packaging for cake boxes and sweet packets before venturing in to the world of picture books.

      - Price -

      Paperback, ISBN: 1-405 00437-1 costs £4.99 but the pop up versions is available from amazon from £1.24

      - Educational Values -

      ~ develops fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination through lifting the flaps.
      ~ encourages children to join in with the text and fosters an enjoyment of books.
      ~ this can be used with slightly older children, 5+ when looking at and comparing traditional tales with modern retellings.

      - My Verdict -

      This is a good fun book, encourages active participation and the plus point is that the troll isn’t too scary for any children who are of a nervous disposition… he’s a little ugly but for the children who have been a little scared of him, the pictures are quite humorous and you can laugh about how funny he looks in his pinny etc..

      Well worth a trip to the library.

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    • Product Details

      Oh, please let me cross, said the middle-sized goat. But the troll only snapped, What's your hurry? With some herbs and some spices and served up with rice, You would make a delicious goat curry! A traditional fairy tale, retold in witty contemporary verse. With hilarious illustrations and flaps to lift on every page, this book will entertain and amuse readers of all ages.