Monday, September 10, 2012

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Reading Mo Willem's latest picture book, I had flashbacks to when I was a kid watching the hilarious Fractured Fairytales from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. A vivid memory is my father laughing even harder than me or my sisters. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs will likewise appeal to grown-ups as much as their offspring, which is a good thing as parents will probably be reading it aloud a lot.

Willems tweaks the familiar storyline so that Goldilocks is the victim and not the callous housebreaker of the Grimm version. The dinosaurs lure "a poorly supervised little girl named Goldilocks" to their home by preparing chocolate pudding and leaving the front door unlocked. What will keep kids chuckling is that the dinosaurs' nefarious plans are never directly stated. In fact,  Willems goes out of this way to assure young readers that the dinosaurs "were definitely not hiding in the woods waiting for an unsuspecting kid to come by." The heavy-handed irony is consistent throughout the book and provides much of the humor. The more Willems insists the dinosaurs mean no harm, the more obvious it becomes that they do.

The illustrations give some of the best laughs. There's the door mat with the words "Tee-Hee" in parentheses under "Welcome" that Goldilocks blithely skips over. Or the telephone with an extremely long receiver designed to fit the dinosaurs' huge heads. Even the endpapers continue the fun. Willems has filled them with alternative ideas for titles, such as "Goldilocks and the Three Prairie Dogs," "Goldilocks and the Three Naked Mole Rats," or my favorite, "Goldilocks and the Three Wall Street Types." Now there's a scary fairy tale!

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
by Mo Willems
Balzer + Bray, 40 pages
Published: September 2012

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the fall releases that I am most looking forward to! Thank you for the sneak peek!