Cover image for The three billy goats buenos
The three billy goats buenos
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm.
A rhyming twist on the classic tale in which the goats help fix what is making the troll so grumpy in order to cross the bridge. Incorporates Spanish words and includes a glossary. --


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Humor abounds in this masterfully-bilingual twist on "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" that dares to ask the question: why is that troll so grumpy anyway?

Three little cabritos have a clever plan to get past the grumpiest troll in the land. But then one of the billy goats wonders: Why is that gigante so grumpy, anyway?

This thoughtful question sends their plan in a new direction, and the results are better than they ever imagined.

Dashes of humor, empathy, and kindness make this modern twist on a classic tale a charming delight.

Author Notes

Susan Middleton Elya is the author of many books that cleverly incorporate Spanish vocabulary into lively verse, including La Princesa and the Pea and La Madre Goose , both illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, and Little Roja Riding Hood , illustrated by Susan Guevara. She is originally from Iowa and now lives in Northern California.

Miguel Ordóñez is the illustrator of the bestselling Jimmy Fallon picture books Everything Is Mama and Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada . He also designs logos for packaging and businesses. Miguel lives in Madrid with his wife and two daughters.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1--A retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale, "Three Billy Goats Gruff." Three goats cross a bridge where a hungry "gigante" lives. As the goats, one by one, so ingeniously try to deceive the monster, the last and biggest goat has a realization that changes the outcome for all the characters. Former Spanish teacher and children book author Middleton presents the tale in rhyme with Spanish words in bold scattered throughout the two-line sentences that build the narrative. The generously sized font uses preschool-friendly vocabulary. The pencil, collage, and digitally made pastel-colored illustrations are set on a white background depicting geometrical figures and curved lines that could be used in an interactive storytime, where children find different shapes. This picture book exposes children to themes such as empathy, kindness, teamwork, and friendship, providing an ideal opportunity for a storytime focused on mindfulness. The front matter contains a glossary with all the Spanish words used in the story. VERDICT A thoughtful picture book that will motivate youngsters to look beyond appearances.--Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA

Publisher's Weekly Review

Zany charm imbues Elya's deft retelling of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." Rhymes silly and clever weave in Spanish vocabulary words, sneakily cuing correct pronunciation: "There once were three goats, a brotherly trio/ They needed to crisscross a fast-moving río.// But under the bridge lived a grumpy gigante/ with tootsies as big as a small elefante." The cabritos, of course, make it by the troll, but Middleton Elya tweaks the plot. As the third goat, Tres, faces the troll, he notices something: "Stuck to her foot was a long, sharp espina./ ¡Ay! That must hurt you a lot, mi vecina!" The goats band together to soothe her, and the delightful story ends in an unexpected friendship. Ordóñez's bug-eyed goats and triangle-toothed troll frolic in a sunny landscape of blocky shapes in vibrant hues. A glossary provides English definitions of Spanish-language words. Ages 4--8. (Mar.)

Kirkus Review

A time-honored folktale gets a makeover with the addition of snappy Spanish vocabulary. In what begins as a familiar tale, three goat brothers are prevented from crossing a river by an irritable troll. They must put their heads together to formulate a plan to get past the troll, but the thoughtful goats in this version of the story find opportunities for empathy and even new friendships when they begin to wonder why the troll is so grumpy and are able to help her with a combination of first aid and goodwill. A scary troll proves to be a new amiga when the goats choose to show her kindness. In her now characteristic style, Elya's rhyming couplets seamlessly weave Spanish words into verses: "How many creatures can pass me? Ningunos!You kids will be part of mis desayunos!" Repetition of some phrases and vocabulary will benefit both emerging readers and those who are working to learn Spanish. Ordez's bold, geometric illustrations mesh with the simplicity of the plot and deliver lively visuals. Two of the goats have cute little beards; the troll looks like a blue brick with round ears and eyes, a V-shaped scowl, triangular pink nose and smaller triangular white fangs, and impossibly long arms. Byron Barton fans will appreciate the vibrant and uncluttered style. An enjoyable addition to any folklore collection, this iteration of the classic story packs visual and linguistic punch. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Who doesn't love the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the scary troll? With rhyming text and a mixture of Spanish and English, Elya presents a modern take on the old classic. Here the three little cabritos encounter a blue, toothy troll on their way to cross el rio to get to that tasty grass. One by one, the goats cross until the third one gets stopped by the troll, but this inquisitive cabrito wants to know why the troll is so grumpy! After finding the reason and mobilizing others to help, the three little goats are rewarded for their kindness by being freely allowed to cross the bridge. As a read-aloud, this bouncy rhyming story, which smoothly incorporates Spanish words and encourages proper pronunciation, provides a great opportunity to discuss kindness. Ordóñez's blocky, bright illustrations, composed of rounded shapes in flat swathes of color, add to the cheerful atmosphere. A glossary of Spanish terms and pronunciation guide bolster language-learning opportunities in this lively, engaging take on a classic tale.--Esmeralda Majors Copyright 2020 Booklist