The three sillies

Steven Kellogg

Book - 1999

A young man believes his sweetheart and her family are the three silliest people in the world until he meets three others who are even sillier.

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Picture books
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press 1999.
1st ed
Item Description
A retelling of The three sillies by Joseph Jacobs.
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Main Author
Steven Kellogg (-)
Other Authors
Joseph Jacobs, 1854-1916 (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ages 4^-8. Kellogg offers a hilarious picture book about how silly even the most serious of us can sometimes be. A man who goes courting a farmer's daughter decides that the farmer, his wife, and the girl are so incredibly silly, he can't marry the daughter until he finds three sillier people. Only the farm cat seems to have a problem with this snobby plan. The man has no trouble finding silly people wherever he goes, and his wedding day reveals him as the "Silliest silly in the land." The illustrations are so full of detail and humor that each look reveals something new. The book mixes nonsense words such as kangaroof and hoofenheap and sophisticated words such as churl and berserk. There are characters who say, "I sally forth with pants unfurled," and those who spend time "a-thinking." This is a retelling of an 1890s folktale, and the bizarre use of language and grammar makes it feel like oral storytelling at its best. ((Reviewed November 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kellogg (Paul Bunyan; Johnny Appleseed) here serves up a rollicking farce inspired by a selection from Joseph Jacobs's 19th-century English Fairy Tales, with roots in the Brothers Grimm's "Clever Else." The narrative tells of a gentleman who is courting a farmer's daughter. When first the suitor's sweetheart, then her parents, disappear into the cellar one by one, he discovers the trio "A-sobbing and a-screeching and a-swimming in the cellar full of cider" (for quite a silly reason). He then sets out on horseback to "find three sillies who are even sillier than you three," and after he does, he returns to marry the daughter. Kellogg exploits the oddball scenarios to the fullest as he portrays an old woman trying to boost her cow onto her cottage roof ("to eat the weeds that were a-growing there") and a group of "a-whining, a-whimpering, and a-wailing" villagers who, spying the moon's reflection in a pond, believe it has tumbled from the sky. His riotous ink and watercolor illustrations spill over with preposterous particulars, including the antics and wisecracks of assorted opinionated animals. Presented in balloons, rhyming commentary from a boisterous chorus of townsfolk adds to the cheerful mayhem. Ages 5-10. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3-In this zany retelling of a familiar folktale, a suitor discovers that his potential betrothed and her family suffer from a severe affliction of the sillies. He sets out on a journey, promising to return only if he can find three people sillier than they are. In rapid succession, he meets an old woman who insists on grazing her cow on the roof, a man with a highly unusual way of donning his trousers, and an entire village of moonstruck fools. He returns to marry and suffers a near (but predictable) tragedy; a resultant pint-sized silly promises a lifetime of outrageous adventures. Kellogg's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are wonderfully suited to the goofy goings-on. From full-page spreads to small boxed action sequences, the bumptious characters and talking animals engage in glorious mayhem. The many visual references to previous stories by Kellogg will delight fans. While the telling itself is simple and straightforward, the dialogue balloons and plentiful asides add greatly to the humor. Kathryn Hewitt's porcine version (Harcourt, 1989) and Paul Galdone's classic (Clarion, 1981) are sedate compared to this rollicking good time. Best shared one-on-one so the myriad details will not be missed.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A young man believes his sweetheart and her family are the three silliest people in the world until he meets three others who are even sillier.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In a retelling of the story by Joseph Jacobs, a young man believes his sweetheart and her family are the three silliest people in the world until he meets three others who are even sillier