cover image Goldilocks: Wanted Dead or Alive

Goldilocks: Wanted Dead or Alive

Chris Colfer, illus. by Jon Proctor. Little, Brown, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-31

This graphic novel spin-off of Colfer’s the Land of Stories series centers Goldilocks in an unevenly built origin story. On the run since childhood for vandalizing the Three Bears’ home, blond Goldilocks lives in the lawless Dwarf Forests with her horse Porridge and friend Hagetta, a red-haired witch. When Prince Chance Charming—husband to Cinderella, sibling to Snow White and Sleeping Beauty’s princes—determines to conquer the Dwarf Forests “and drive out all the monsters inhabiting the land,” Goldilocks struggles to rally her community of outcasts to defend their home, though Puss in Boots, the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, and brown-skinned Miss Muffet answer the call. Moving from one wordy conversation to the next, the story is most enjoyable when Proctor lets loose in wordless action sequences showcasing sword-wielding Goldilocks’s physical prowess. Though full-color art with strong lines carries the story forward, inconsistent cartooning, especially in the majority-white cast’s faces, leaves critical moments with little emotion. Colfer’s series has found success in prose, but its transition to sequential storytelling feels like little more than a series of caricatures—a world full of figures that readers will recognize but barely come to know. Ages 8–12. [em](June) [/em]