Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE THREE SILLY BILLIES by Margie Palatini

THE THREE SILLY BILLIES

By Margie Palatini (Author) , Barry Moser (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-85862-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Though Moser veers off course on one page, this tale of a temporary traffic jam at the local troll bridge will draw fresh bursts of hilarity from fans of Earthquack! (2002) and similar riffs on familiar folktales. A surly gent who resembles, in characteristically droll, realistic illustrations, a diminutive orangutan in ill-fitting human clothes and a hard hat, stops the jalopy driven by Billy Bob, Billy Bo and Just Plain Billy, demanding they “start passing the buck” if they want to cross the bridge. So they pull out and inflate a plastic “car pool” to raise funds from overheated fellow travelers. Joined by Jack, Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, the three Billys finally wash the troll collector over the side in a climactic but off-stage reversal of fortune, then motor off, leaving the even more disgruntled attendant to face a jolly (“Fee fie fo fum . . . Is that a troll I smell? . . . Yummy yum yum!”) green new arrival. Comic flourishes galore in this breezy retelling, though no match for the richness of language and feeling in Patricia Rae Wolff’s Toll-Bridge Troll (1995), illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)