This version of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” will satisfy dinosaur lovers who just cannot get their fill of their favorite prehistoric beasts.
“Once upon a time, sixty-eight million years ago…” lived the three Triceratops Tuff brothers: Stanley, Rufus and Bob. Food is pretty scarce, so they go out in search of something to eat. They find lots of vegetation, but it’s on the other side of a valley inhabited by an intimidating T-Rex. Hungry, naïve Stanley is not daunted, even when the giant carnivore approaches him and announces that dinner is served. Told about the bigger brother, the T-Rex tells Stanley to “scram, squirt!” Nervous Rufus’ experience is just the same. And when the largest brother confronts the toothy monster, the always tough Bob has something in mind that doesn’t involve becoming a meal. With the T-Rex taken care of, “at last, dinner was served…” for all the herbivores. Shaskan’s dinos are delightfully individualized, though the T-Rex is so stylized as to possibly be unrecognizable. However his teeth and posture certainly get his message across, while his slang-y speech adds another dimension to the tale. Ferny fronds, a smoking volcano in the background and a mosquito that buzzes through most scenes complete the prehistoric package.
Dino lovers will be charmed; others may want to stick with the more traditional goats, like those of Mary Finch’s 2001 title. (Fractured fairy tale. 3-7)