HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Three Billy Goats Gruff: A Split-Page Surprise Book
Author: Harriet Ziefert
Illustrator: Laura Rader
Publisher: Tambourine, 1995
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
Disclosure: Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library. No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.
For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ziefert, Harriet. The Three Billy Goats Gruff: A Split-Page Surprise Book (published in 1995 by Tambourine). “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” is a Norwegian fairy tale that was collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in their Norske Folkeeventyr, first published between 1841 and 1844. It is about three male goats, either youngster, father, and grandfather, or three brothers. Because there is no grass left for them to eat where they live, they must get to a meadow on the other side of the river in order to find food. To do this, they must first cross a bridge, under which lives a mean troll who eats anyone who passes that way. Author Harriet Ziefert has taken this traditional tale, provided a text that is close to most other retellings of the classic story, and added a special twist.
As they wonder how they will get past the hungry troll to the tasty grass on the other side of the bridge, the three goats share their adventures on split pages that reveal ingenious solutions on the bottom Illustrator Laura Rader’s watercolor, cartoon-style drawings are humorous and nicely detailed. The format could make the book a little awkward as some children might be confused as to whether the top or bottom half of the split pages should be opened first, although there are directions on the back of the book. When our older son Mark was learning to read, we checked this book out of the library to give him extra practice. Harriet Ziefert has written several hundred books, mostly picture books and easy-to-read books, including A New Coat for Anna, Sleepy Dog, Pete’s Chicken, Trip Day, Worm Day, and Let’s Get a Pet.