The 3 Bears and Goldilocks by Margaret Willey

Cindy: Just when you think there’s no need for another rehash of a familiar folktale (although, really, are there ever enough folktale retellings?) you find an author and illustrator who add important elements to the tale. In The 3 Bears and Goldilocks (Atheneum, 2008) when Willey’s Goldilocks gets to the bears’ house it’s not embroidery and quilts we see, but illustrations befitting this description: “It was a room unlike any room she had ever seen!” The floor was strewn from corner to corner with leaves and berry stems and pine cones and fish bones and thick, brown fur.” Yes! This is how bears would live! Heather Solomon’s illustrations are every bit as delightful as in the duo’s Clever Beatrice series down to the bugs trapped in the sticky bowls of porridge (What IS it with bugs in breakfast food recently? Check out the fly in the sticky bun being served in the odd but delightful Inside the Slidy Diner by Laurel Snyder) Anyway, kudos to Willey and Solomon for giving us a fresh look at a familiar tale. I hope they live happily ever after.

Lynn: Classical fairy tales are full of elements that are very puzzling to young children. Kids know they shouldn’t go in the woods by themselves or walk into other people’s empty houses and eat their food. Willey’s clever text provides welcome explanations for all those 5-year-old skeptics among us. “Goldilocks listened but did not really listen,” to her father and of course bears would sleep on pine needles and duck feathers. Solomon’s illustrations are terrific. The buggy oatmeal is a wonderfully gross touch as is the messy bone-strewn floor. The bears aren’t cuddly but just scary enough to make Goldilock’s flight through the window seem smart not wimpy. My grandsons and I definitely agree with Cindy on this book – thumb’s up for a fresh new version!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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