A CHAIR FOR BABY BEAR

Kaye Umansky, Author, Chris Fisher, Illustrator , illus. by Chris Fisher. Barron's $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7641-5789-9

Though readers never catch sight of Goldilocks's blond tresses in this sweet but slight story, she's both its raison d'etre and its deux ex machina. The bear family finally acknowledges that Papa Bear will never get around to fixing the chair ("That naughty Goldilocks broke Baby Bear's chair a very long time ago," Mama Bear chides), so they head to town to buy a new one. The trip prompts Baby Bear to fantasize about a number of ideal seats: dawdling in a stream, for instance, he imagines he's a boisterous buccaneer, and thus needs "a pirate chair... Please, please, please?" Umansky's text plays out realistically, with Baby Bear finding a Pirate chair, "But it was much too scary." The store offers so many choices (including an airplane chair with a propeller and seat belt) that the hero is overwhelmed, and leaves empty-handed. But a surprise awaits on the porch back home, "the most perfect Little Red Bear Chair," a gift of contrition from Goldilocks herself ("Sorry I broke your chair," reads the note). Fisher's restrained but genial watercolor-and-ink pictures subtly capture the ursine clan engaging in some very familiar human family dynamics, while adding some nice humorous asides, such as an impressionistic rendering of Baby Bear spinning a few too many times in the store's revolving door. Any child who has felt that the Goldilocks story comes to an abrupt halt will find that this British team has done a nifty job of tying up the loose ends. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 978-7-5083-8416-0
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-19-279089-7
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-19-272535-6
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