May 15, 2013

Who’s Been Eating My Porridge?

Posted in Blogging, Book Reviews, Books, Picture Books tagged , , , at 6:39 am by catsinboxes

If you, like me, were raised on a diet of fairytales, then Goldilocks is one of those classics that you cut your teeth on.  As I came to this post though, I faced an interesting question.  Is there one “classic” picture book version of Goldilocks?  I really don’t think so though Goldilocks certainly does occur in many classic fairytale collections.

While I haven’t found (or remembered) a classic version, today I will highlight 3 different retellings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Each is in print and available on Amazon; I’ve added links for each image, so if you click on the cover, it will take you right to the book on Amazon.  One of them is wordless, hence my “Wordless Wednesday” tag –if you noticed and were wondering.  So, without further ado, may I present . . .

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, retold and illustrated by Jan Brett.  (1987)  

Jan Brett’s version is lavishly illustrated and depicts the standard tale of one naughty little’s girl intrusion into the home of the 3 bears.  While I enjoy this well-written version, I can only take Jan Brett’s art in small doses, so it is not my favorite.  If you love Jan Brett and are looking for a standard retelling, then this is the book for you.

Deep in the Forest, by Brinton Turkle.  (1976)

This book is unrivaled as my favorite, wordless version of a spin-off of Goldilocks.  Yes, there’s a small, naughty creature invading a house and eating porridge, but the tables are reversed, and the culprit is a small, brown bear.  Sneaking away from his mother and siblings, Small Bear discovers a log cabin with an open door.  The chubby, golden-locked owner of the porridge, chair, and bed is away, and so Small Bear has a heyday.  I love Brinton Turkle’s muted illustrations, and the way he casts this as a pioneer tale complete with a little house in the big woods and some very Scandinavian looking inhabitants.  Without any words, he captures the emotion of this story: the unhappy howl of “Goldilocks” on discovering her broken chair, the bafflement of her mother, and the terror of the little bear once discovered.  If you have a chance, buy this book!  It will be worth every bit you spend, and you never have to tell the same story twice since it is wordless!

The Goldilocks Variations: A Pop-up Book, by Allan & Jessica Ahlberg (2012)

The Ahlbergs are back, but this time Allan pairs up with his daughter Jessica in a whimsical, interactive, and laugh-out-loud funny book which, as the title promises, after a retelling of the standard version of Goldilocks gives multiple variations on the tale.  Complete with tabs to pull, flaps to lift, and even a miniature book within the book (for Goldilocks the Play, presented by Puss in Boots Productions), this is a child’s dream and will hold their interest to the end.  The pictures are delightful; Jessica definitely has inherited both her late mother’s talent and style.  The story is well-written, often humorous, and the vocabulary and word choices are excellent.  To give you a sampling, this is how the “classic” version begins.  “There was once a cheeky girl.  Her name, or nickname rather, on account of her corn-colored hair, was Goldilocks.”  Have I mentioned that the Ahlbergs are British?  Yet another reason to love this book!  Since this is recent, you can probably find it easily at your local library.  Check it out, read it to your children, and have fun. This is one of those books that parents and adults can enjoy, too!

Do you have a favorite version of Goldilocks that I haven’t mentioned?  Do share!  I believe James Marshal has illustrated one, but we don’t have it, and I can’t remember that much aside from the fact that Goldilocks was fat and obnoxious looking! To see my review of another fairytale retelling by Allan Ahlberg, click HERE.  



  1. Great reviews, Hayley. I had been wondering about the Ahlberg version.

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