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PreS-Gr 2–Browne subtly overlays the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” with a social message. The Goldilocks character, nameless throughout, is introduced in a dark palette against a bleak urban setting. Conversely, the Bear family is presented as a colorful and happy unit. Baby Bear is the narrator. While on a walk, the girl chases a balloon and gets lost. She is drawn to the bears' house with its warm, yellow facade. There, she is another person: her head no longer hangs low, and she is infused with color, especially her fiery, golden hair. She eats the porridge, checks out the chairs, and winds up in Baby Bear's bed. She is experiencing life in a world vastly different from her own. When the bears return and find the intruder, their perfect world is shaken up momentarily and, for the first time, they are depicted without color and clearly angry. The girl flees the house and runs back to her side of town. Baby Bear is left concerned and wondering about her. The girl finally runs into the arms of her mother, and the story concludes with their wordless, warm embrace. This book looks at what constitutes family and at our culture of the haves versus the have-nots. Browne's signature artwork and intentional use of color make the juxtaposition of “Goldilocks's” plight with the bears' way of life unmistakable. Younger children can enjoy this picture book, but, in the hands of the right adult, older children will get a lot out of it. Browne has added depth to a story that we thought we already knew.–Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Browne’s wry fractured fairy tale sets the Goldilocks story in a contemporary urban neighborhood and tells it from the dual viewpoints of a lost little girl and a baby bear. The girl’s story, shown on left-hand pages, is wordless; sepia-toned pictures show a bespectacled, blond kid who gets lost in the city streets, enters a house with an open door, eats porridge, breaks a chair, and snuggles up to nap. On each facing page, Baby Bear tells his parallel story, illustrated in full color, of walking in the park with Daddy and Mommy and then coming home to find his breakfast gone, his chair broken, and someone asleep in his bed. Browne adds notes of realism and melancholy to the traditional story. Goldilocks is alone in a city filled with abandoned buildings, while Mommy and Daddy Bear complain and ignore Little Bear. The colloquial narrative adds further immediacy, and it also lightens the mood, while the climax, in which Goldilocks returns home to her mother’s embrace, reveals shining gold under all the sepia brown. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel RochmanSee all Editorial Reviews