cover image The Three Bears

The Three Bears

Byron Barton. HarperFestival, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020423-5

With his pared-down text and one-dimensional, vibrantly colored images, Barton ( Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones ; I Want to Be an Astronaut ) offers a neatly distilled version of this classic tale. Preschoolers can memorize the simple verse in no time and will delight in chiming in as Papa, Mama and Baby Bear complain in turn about the apparent presence of an unwanted guest. Barton adds a few minor variations: the first two chairs in which Goldilocks sits rock ``too fast'' and ``too slow''; finally, Baby Bear's chair ``rocked just right.'' Among the winsome artistic touches are a telltale trail of flowers that the primitively rendered girl leaves throughout the bears' house and true-to-life crease marks in pillows and blankets. This unassuming rendition is best suited to those at the younger end of the intended age span. Ages 3-6. (Nov.)