The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection is a classic fable with a fresh twist.

But first – the giveaway from Kristen Foote’s “Mining for Heart” post…..

The random generator has chosen Ann Kelley! Congratulations! Kristen will contact you and send a copy of How to Survive as a Shark your way. 

And now… a classic made new…

IMG_1459Title: The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Written and Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown and Company, 2017
Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/topics: classic tales, peaceful coexistence, bullying

A long time ago, on the rocky side of a river, there lived a family of three hungry billy goats Gruff. The wild grasses flourished on the other side of the river, where the sun always shone brightest. And under the bridge passing over that water, there lived a troll with a heart of stone, who guarded the crossing day and night.

Brief synopsis (from
When the three billy goats Gruff are hungry, they see bountiful grass to eat across an old bridge. But the bridge is home to a terrible troll, who is peckish himself, and looking for a tasty morsel to gobble up. In his interpretation of the timeless tale, Jerry Pinkney shows there’s little good to come from greed–but in the end, redemption for even the most trollish bully is possible. A dramatic gatefold heightens the climax of this brilliant rendition.

Activities and Resources:
This story version provides many opportunities for discussion:
Can someone own a river?
Are there ever good reasons to prevent someone from doing something?
Do you know any other stories that show “What goes around, comes around.”?
Compare this version to the original. What did the author change? Why do you think he made these changes?
What do you think would be a good solution for all the characters? How could they live together peacefully?
Dramatization: Have a meeting with the goats, the troll, and the fish to work out their problems.

Why I like this book:
It’s a given that anything Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney does has phenomenal illustrations, and this book stands along with his others as exceptional. His added twist at the end of the story takes it to a level beyond the traditional bully troll’s violent end. Re-envisioning the classic story with the new ending makes it fresh, relevant, and much needed in today’s world.

Visit Jerry Pinkney HERE.


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.


6 thoughts on “The Three Billy Goats Gruff

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