Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini

The Three Silly BilliesAt first I wasn't sure what I thought of The Three Silly Billies, written by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Barry Moser, but the more I read it the more I liked it.  Anna liked it from the beginning.

As you probably guessed, this book has some likenesses to the traditional Three Billy Goats Gruffs, but it has a lot more happening.  The Troll in the book is the keeper of the Troll Gate (toll gate) for the bridge and when the goats try to cross the bridge he asks them to pay the $1 before crossing. They don't have the money and decide to set up a "car pool" and wait for others to join them to make up the needed funds. Different traditional story characters (the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, and Jack from Jack in the Beanstalk) come along and add to the funds until they finally have enough to cross the bridge.

There is so much packed into this book!  It would make for some great language arts lessons as you discuss the different characters and their original stories, and also as you discuss all the plays on words throughout the book.  It can also be a fun addition to a math class in which you talk about the values of different coins and how different combinations of coins can be used to make $1.

This is the first book that I've read by Margie Palatini, but I will definitely be watching for more by her.  You can learn All about Margie and her books on Margie Palatini's website. She shares how she came up with the story on The Three Silly Billies Inspiration Equation page.  In the activities section of her website you will find The Three Silly Billies Pass the Buck Brain Teaser a pdf which can be used to figure out how many different ways the story characters can use different coins to make $1, and The Three Silly Billies Hidden Word Puzzle, a pdf for which you have to read the book to figure out the clues to find the hidden words.  In the What's L-3? (Learning, Language, and Laughter) section of her website you will find links to Activity Guides for her books, including this book, and a Study Guide for her books that have to do with Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, and Fables.  Of course this book is included in that study guide.  The guide includes Questions, Discussions, Activities, and Charts that can be used to study different aspects of the book.  You have to register for her site to get access to the study guides but there is no fee for registering.  I can see using this study guide and the books mentioned in it as a literature unit in the future.

The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini is a book you don't want to miss and if you really want to get all you can out of it make sure you take advantage of the resources on Margie Palatini's website.

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  1. Hi Jacqueline,
    Thanks for the great mention of my Three Silly Billies! It is a very fun book. Illustrator Barry Moser has hidden a self-portrait somewhere in one of the spreads. Can you find him?

  2. Wow! Thanks for the visit, Margie! I didn't know about the hidden self-portrait and I just returned the book to the library. I'm going to have to get it again and check it out. I love stuff like that!