Diane Stanley, . . HarperCollins, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000008-0

In Stanley's (Rumplestiltskin's Daughter) witty re-creation of a familiar tale, she characterizes Goldilocks as a wide-eyed, golden-haired heroine who knows exactly what she likes ("I want plain pasta with just butter and no green things, please") but is also quite lonely. These traits go along way to explain Goldie's behavior when she gets off at the wrong bus stop one day and knocks on the Three Bears' house to use their phone (no one is home). It turns out that she and Baby Bear share some things in common: she likes Baby Bear's food best, they like the same book (Bears!) and, when the cub discovers Goldie in her bed, they find jumping on it superior to fighting over it. In the story's upbeat ending, Goldie finds a fast friend in Baby Bear.

Stanley shapes an especially endearing version of this classic with numerous fresh and funny textual and visual flourishes (e.g., she establishes Goldie's interest in bears with a stuffed teddy that "she loved... with all her heart" and bear paintings on her bedroom wall; the anthropomorphic Mama Bear wears a vermilion dress and pearls, and her high-heeled slippers lie next to her elegantly carved sleigh bed). Stanley also cashes in on readers' familiarity with the tale ("It will not surprise you to learn/ that [Goldie] found three beds.../ and that one was too soft,..."). An appealing take on the character of Goldilocks and on her escapade. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)