Janet Stevens is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books, including Tops & Bottoms, a Caldecott Honor Book. With her sister and co-author, Susan Stevens Crummel, she created the acclaimed best-sellers The Great Fuzz Frenzy, Help Me, Mr. Mutt!, The Little Red Pen and more. She is also the illustrator of the Epossumondas books, written by renowned storyteller Coleen Salley. Janet Stevens lives in Colorado. Visit her online at janetstevens.com.
PreS-Gr 2 Only the familiar plot of this well-known Norwegian folktale is recognizable in this revision. Gone is the cadence and beauty of G. W. Dasent's translation of Asbjornsen and Moe's text, found in Marcia Brown's version (HBJ, 1957; o.p.). Instead there is language devoid of rhythm and mystery. In addition, unnecessary motivations are ascribed to the characters that serve to explain the reason for their violent actions (the troll is hungry; the big Billy Goat Gruff is angry). These explanations serve only to dilute the power of the story. The full-color illustrations are humorous; the goats walk about on their hind legs, the smallest goat wears a diaper and sucks a pacifier, and the biggest wears a black leather jacket, to reinforce the point that he is tough enough to destroy the troll. The troll is quite scary, and although he does have a nose as long as a poker, his eyes are not as big as saucers; the illustration that introduces the troll does not even show his eyes. A better purchase is Galdone's version (Clarion, 1981) which is well-suited for use with large groups and more closely follows the standard translation. Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, Conn.