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THE THREE BILLYGOATS GRUFF AND MEAN CALYPSO JOE by Cathrene Valente Youngquist

THE THREE BILLYGOATS GRUFF AND MEAN CALYPSO JOE

by Cathrene Valente Youngquist, illustrated by Kristin Sorra

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-82824-1
Publisher: Atheneum

How about those Gruffs tromping across their famously troll-guarded bridge between two Caribbean islands? Debut author Youngquist couldn’t resist landing this well-known story in the heart of the area in which she spends part of each year. The drill here is the same: the three goats decide to opt for greener pastures, but must face their fear in the guise of a mean troll. They do so with their usual cleverness and strength. With island accents for the goats and troll and the help of Sorra’s bright, Philippines-inspired acrylic colors, the story takes on the sun-drenched, water-surrounded rhythm of the verdant West Indies (sorry, no sandy beaches, just luscious grass and wavy water). Sorra (Venola in Love, 2000, etc.) visualizes the troll Calypso Joe as a regular stitch with his seaweed green hair and flip-flops. It’s hard to take him seriously when mean Calypso Joe exercises his scare tactics. Youngquist, to her credit, paces her version just right and infuses the accents with a truistic tinge so parents and librarians can read it over and over to their children without cracking. However, one is left feeling that the newly mannered Calypso Joe is such a promising idea for a character in this setting that his further adventures will be more interesting than this debut. (Picture book. 3-7)