cover image Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Gerda Muller. Floris (SteinerBooks, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-86315-795-0

This delicately illustrated version of this tale, first published in France, removes some of the familiar oppositions (too hard, too soft, just right) found in earlier versions and gives the heroine a contemporary backstory (she lives in a traveling circus caravan). The charm of the book lies primarily in Muller’s detailed illustrations, which are set against tan backgrounds and include an inviting fairy tale woods dotted with wildflowers and a rustic abode for the bears (beehives outside are echoed by bee-themed bed linens within, and the family’s three chairs have bear-shaped headrests). The story’s size motif is emphasized both textually and in the art, with big, medium, and small objects appearing throughout—mice, piggy banks, umbrellas, and more (they are even color-coordinated to a degree: green for Daddy Bear, blue for Mummy Bear, and yellow for Baby Bear). Although upset, the honey-loving bears are quite polite in the face of home intrusion (“They weren’t mean bears, they were just unhappy”), taking the time to educate a fleeing Goldilocks on the importance of knocking first—a lesson she takes to heart. Ages 3–up. (Dec.)