GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

Jim Aylesworth, Author, Barbara McClintock, Author, Barbara McClintock, Illustrator , illus. by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-39545-8

The team behind The Gingerbread Man sinks their teeth into this traditional but never dull retelling of a classic.

McClintock borrows from Tenniel and Caldecott in her intricate ink-and-watercolor illustrations. Goldilocks may have the thick blonde curls and voluminous rose-pink dress of a doll, but her untied shoelaces, fierce eyes and predatory smile suggest a certain willfulness. Aylesworth likewise sums up the young troublemaker, explaining that Goldilocks "was very, very good, except that sometimes she forgot to do things that her mother told her to do. Yes she did." One day, the girl politely asks permission to pick some flowers, then promptly skips into the forbidden woods. She arrives at the back door of a quaint, ivy-covered stone house just as the Three Bears, dressed for a country stroll, are sauntering out the front. As the girl explores the cottage, her expressions range from absolute disgust to pure joy. When she sinks into the deep cushions of the "medium-sized mama-bear chair" or crawls on the "great, huge papa-bear bed," she frowns like a guest at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. But as she devours Baby Bear's porridge and flops into his "just right" bed, she relaxes with a contented grin. The poor bears, styled as an unsuspecting middle-class family, are shocked to discover the break-in and the guilty party. A conversational voice, delightfully fussy pictures and a recipe for "Mama Bear's Porridge Cookies" make for a satisfying nursery story. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/18/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Children's
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