From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3—Set in "the farthest reaches of the far north," this version of the tale features a plucky lass who, warned by her father "…not to rush headlong into places where you don't belong," nevertheless ventures into the forest and into the bears' messy "cabin," which she sweeps clean. Removing the beetles and other unappealing lumps from Baby Bear's porridge, she eats all of the cereal, then settles down on his small, soft bed for a short snooze. Returning from a walk, the bears, at first annoyed by the rearrangement of their domain, take pity on the "poor creature" they find sleeping in Baby Bear's bed, but Goldilocks reacts with fear and bolts the premises. There is a rustic feel to the illustrations, rendered in watercolor, collage, colored pencil, acrylic, and oil paint. The bears' residence is shown to be a sort of rustic hogan constructed of bent saplings, vines, and bark, the interior strewn with pieces of the outdoors and the remains of meals. Large bowls hold porridge dotted with dead beetles, lumps of grass, and other natural matter. Beds are made from blankets thrown over piles of leaves, feathers, and other forest detritus. Woven baskets and earthenware bowls and vases sit on and around a great stone fireplace. Written and illustrated by the same pair that created Clever Beatrice
(S & S, 2001), this satisfying read-aloud offers a new twist on an old favorite.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Willey hews close to the traditional story “The Three Bears” with a literary glance toward natural science that serves the humor of the story well. Goldilocks, “bolder than most and very curious,” scoots into the woods to find adventure, and discovers the cave-like cabin of the bears. Instead of old-fashioned crockery and furniture, the fair-haired adventurer discovers a floor “strewn from corner to corner with leaves and berry stems and pine cones and fish bones and thick, brown fur,” oatmeal with beetles and bark, and beds made with pine needles and feathers. Cleanup, snack, and nap ensue. Mixed-media (watercolor, collage, color pencils, acrylic and oil paint) illustrations depict a lushly locked, bright-eyed protagonist; woods made for exploring; and three good-natured bears who feel sorry that their housebreaker lacks fur, teeth, and claws. Goldilocks’ learned lesson is a satisfying and funny conclusion, worthy of the reader and storyteller. Willey’s lively text and Solomon’s expressive images shake the dust from this old tale and make it shiny new. Preschool-Grade 1. --Janice Del Negro