The Bully Goat Grim: A Maynard Moose Tale

illus. by James Stimson. 32p. glossary. w/CD. August Little Folk. 2013. Tr $18.95. ISBN 978-087483-952-4. LC 2012008626.
Gr 2–5—With a storyteller's voice and a wry sense of humor, this offering turns "Three Billy Goats Gruff" on its head. Suffering from Random Hostility Syndrome, Bully Goat Grim enjoys tossing little furry "amunals" over the tops of trees with his big, boney head. When he encounters a "fambly" of trolls living under a bridge on his way to the upland pasture, he bellows, "Beware, beware, the Bully Goat Grim!/Nobody better not mess with him!" While Daddy's and Mommy's multiple heads get bogged down in arguing with one another about how best to deal with the "dubnoxious" creature, the baby figures out that there's a double negative in that threat and finds a satisfying solution to the goat's head butting. Transcribing the Piney Woods dialect of narrator Maynard Moose into readable text requires some "displain[ing]," so there is a glossary of "Moose Words" and several "Grown-up Words" (e.g., "soporific," "synergistic"), and therein lies the only weakness of this book. For while Moose language is fairly simple to understand as a sort of fractured English, the Grown-up Words and concepts weigh down the text and make the audience for this title less clear. Certainly as a read-aloud, or listening to the CD provided, there is plenty to enjoy in this folksy tale, but as a book children would read on their own, it is less successful. Fortunately, the colorful illustrations carry the story along and make everything funnier, from stern-looking Bully Goat Grim and his humongous horns to the green-headed trolls. For collections in which fractured folktales are appreciated.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

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