The Silly Goat Gruff by Scott Tulloch is the second fairytale retelling that Scholastic New Zealand have published this month and it’s absolutely brilliant. Scott Tulloch presents a version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff that you’ve never heard before.
In The Silly Goat Gruff there are three goats called Willy, Billy and Silly Goat Gruff who want to get to the other side of the bridge, where there is lush, green grass. They get sick of nibbling on pine cones and chewing on pebbles and so they each try to cross the bridge. But we all know that there is a mean, smelly troll living under this bridge and he’s also hungry. Just when you think you know how the story goes, Scott turns it on its head.
The Silly Goat Gruff is a hilarious retelling of the classic story, with a twist in the tale that you won’t see coming. The rhyming text flows perfectly, making it a fun story to read aloud. Scott uses some wonderful language throughout the story, words like leer, sneered and smithereens, that many children may not have heard before. I love some of the phrases that Scott uses too, like ‘What the dickens are you doing?’ and ‘I’m scarcely a snack with salad and fries.’ The distinct characters in the story make it ideal for acting out in class, or for a librarian like me to do some great funny voices. The twist in the story made me laugh out loud because it’s so funny and totally silly. Needless to say, Silly Goat Gruff has some hidden talents that come in very handy when facing a hungry troll.
Scott’s illustrations add extra silliness and humour to the story. Silly Goat Gruff doesn’t look the brightest or most handsome goat on the mountain, but I love the way Scott has drawn him, with his tongue hanging out, crooked teeth, and wonky eyes. I’m sure if you were a troll you wouldn’t feel threatened by him in the slightest. The moral of the story though is that looks can be deceiving and you shouldn’t judge anyone by how they look. I also really like Scott’s troll, who looks both scary and cuddly.
4 out of 5 stars
The Silly Goat Gruff is another wonderful New Zealand book that you could borrow from your library or buy from a bookshop (using your NZ Book Month $5 voucher) to share during NZ Book Month.