I am excited to review a brilliant, and successful indie project by Greg Luzniak titled Three Goats Gruff. This, his first children’s book, is a beautifully re-imagined story of the classic Norwegian folktale Three Billy Goats Gruff, titledThree Goats Gruff. With the support of over 350 project sponsors, Luzniak was able to bring his story to the world.
To reference the original tale of the Three Goats Gruff, or De tre bukkene Bruse by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, and Jørgen Moe (Ashliman, 2000), consisted of three male goats named “Gruff.” All three were headed to a greater pasture or field, to eat the grass and make themselves fat. But before they could get there, they encountered a problem: a very hungry troll who lived under the bridge. When each of the goats cross, the troll shouts menacingly,
“Who’s tripping over my bridge?“
Eventually, the largest of the three Billy Goats would proudly prance across the bridge and when the troll threatened to come to “gobble” him up; the big Billy Goat Gruff proudly called him on it:
“Well, come along! I’ve got two spears, And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears; I’ve got besides two curling-stones,
And I’ll crush you to bits, body and bones” (2000).
There are three versions of the “three goats” tale originating from Germany, Poland, and Norway: The Three Billy Goats Gruff; The Three Goats and; How the Goats Came to Hessen. In Luzniak’s Three Goats Gruff, the dynamic make-up of the three goat’s differs–there’s a Kid Goat Gruff, a Momma Goat Gruff, and a powerful big Daddy Goat Gruff. The inspiration for the artwork of the goats were inspired by the Alpine Ibex, wild goats that live in the mountains of the European Alps.
It is Luzniak’s dream to create, write, and illustrate his own story books. The beautifully illustrated, 1st edition, hard-bound book is published by FunStory publishers, each one signed, numbered, and limited to a thousand copies. Each page is immaculately illustrated with vividly detailed coloring. This story is more “kid-friendly” than the original tale. If you ever read one of the original tales of the three goats, each of the stories have a stronger and brutal tone–the poking out of eyeballs and the breaking of bones, however, not in Luzniak’s Three Goats Gruff tale.
In it, a family of three goats has to cross over an old stone bridge on their way to a golden meadow. But there is a huge, grumpy, old troll in their way. When the grumpy troll would hear the ‘clip-clap’ of the hooves walking across the bridge–he sprang up from below and shouted–
Each page is a climatic eyeful of imagery that seemingly “bursts” from each and every page, as each of the Goat Gruff crosses the bridge! As the satisfying tension between the Goat’s Gruff and the Grumpy Troll mount–you will soon find yourself at the engaging finale between the proud Daddy Goat Gruff and the tattered old grumpy bridge troll. The artwork in Luzniak’s Three Goats Gruff is astounding and the story cleverly teaches an important lesson: that there will always be obstacles in our paths; do we meet these adversities with skill and determination? Or do we falter in an effort to avoid them?
I am happy to have played a part in contributing to the Three Goats Gruff project. Thank you, Mr. Luzniak, for the opportunity. I eagerly await your next edition. Stay golden.
Ashliman , D. L. (2000). Three billy goats gruff folktales of aarne-thompson type 122e translated and/or edited by d. l. ashliman . Retrieved from http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0122e.html
Image source: Greg Luzniak.com
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