cover image Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates

Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates

April Jones Prince, illus. by Steven Salerno. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-30074-6

Prince (What Do Wheels Do All Day?) cleverly recasts the three bears as swashbuckling pirates in this alliterative twist on Goldilocks. A “pilfering Papa pirate,” “menacing Mama pirate,” and “bonny Baby pirate-in-training” live on a “seaworthy sloop” in the harbor. When Mama’s attempt to make gruel leaves her cursing (“Flaming blazes!”), the trio sets off for shore. Enter Goldenlocks, a “lonesome lass” out for a row. She improves the gruel with a pinch of nutmeg and repairs Baby’s stool so that it’s “sturdy as a sea chest.” Many readers will know the outlines of this plot by heart, but Salerno (The Kid from Diamond Street) builds suspense with his sketches of the red-faced, scowling pirates as they bellow, stomp, and finally confront Goldenlocks, before recognizing how handy she is. Prince has a knack for pirate lingo, and she uses it to its utmost (the book includes a glossary). After hearing Papa cry, “Shiver me timbers, someone’s been eating me gruel,” readers may have trouble going back to the original story—pirates are just more fun than bears. Ages 4–7. Author’s agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Nov.)