In his adaptation of the Goldilocks story, Spirin's (The Lord Is My Shepherd) lush colored pencil and watercolor spreads are as elaborate as the text is simple. Against white backdrops, Goldilocks and the bears are drawn in great realistic detail, along with judicious use of ornate setting details and delicate page ornamentation. These bears have fierce claws and teeth, but their apparel is nothing short of royal, dotted with jewels and pearls, and trimmed with feathers and gold. The text, conversely, is completely free of metaphors or complex sentences, the story stripped to its tag-line essence: "Who's been sitting in my chair?" asks each bear parent as Little Bear laments, "My chair's broken!" The suspenseful scene as the bears find Goldilocks asleep in Little Bear's well-appointed bed is followed by an abrupt illustration in which Goldilocks runs away, looking more gleeful than terrified, as each of the bears says, "Bye," and the narrator informs the reader, "And that's the end of the story!" Goldilocks' face doesn't always transmit her emotions clearly, but overall this is an enchanting-visually, at least-version. Ages 3-7.
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Library Media Connection
As a pre-kindergarten librarian ,I am always looking for books with large pictures and few words. In this one, the classic story is told simply and the illustrations are large. The combination of watercolor and colored pencil create very realistic and detailed drawings. The isolation of the drawings on white backgrounds make the illustrations stand out and will be easier for young children to focus on. The house in this version is very different from other bears' homes. It looks like a castle and the attire of the bears leads us to believe these are no ordinary bears. This book will be used in storytimes because the illustrations are large enough to share with a group and the words are simple and predictable enough to tell this well-known and well-loved story easily. This book will be a great addition to your elementary collection. Recommended.
School Library Journal
Spirin's version of this classic pairs a simple, straightforward retelling with lush Renaissance costumes and elegant page designs. The bears, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, are solid, realistic creatures, revealing sharp teeth and claws. Papa and Mama Bear, generally appearing together in their fur-trimmed garments, dominate their vertical space-in contrast to their diminutive son. The setting is created with richly realized essentials: solid porridge bowls, carved chairs, ornate beds, a massive stucco and wood-trimmed dwelling. Expansive white space surrounds the characters on most spreads, with embellished lines creating decorative, horizontal borders on selected pages. The creatures seem to regard their intruder more as a curiosity than a criminal; as the golden-haired child runs away down the path, they simply wave and call out their farewells. A source note concludes the text. The Goldilocks shelf is crowded; readers can turn to James Marshall for humor, Jan Brett for details, Valeri Gorbachev for whimsy, and Jim Aylesworth for Victorian, to name but a few. This newcomer will be embraced for its visual clarity and sumptuous style at storytimes and bedtimes alike.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Dozens of visions of Goldilocks, both rustic and refined, have skipped their way through children's books, but none as elegantly as this one. Spirin has edited the story down to "bear bones" and has lavished it with his signature finely detailed watercolor-and-colored pencil artwork. The bears are dressed in exquisite Renaissance costumes while retaining their ursine features, including teeth and claws. Textures in the fabrics, furniture and fur are extremely realistic, heightened by the white backgrounds and handsome page compositions with calligraphic decorations. The illustrations imbue each bear with personality, and Goldilocks is blue-eyed, golden-tressed and utterly charming. The ending? Goldilocks wakes up, runs out of the house and each bear says, "Bye." This gilding of a classic fairy tale is pure gold. An author's note about the story's origin provides a remarkably detailed history for all its just-right brevity (Picture book/folktale. 3-8)