{book} goldilocks and just one bear

on

DAY 24

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

Nosy Crow, 2012

Alright, so I hadn’t intended another Goldilocks story but this one was staring out from the shelf at me. And I was curious about the “one bear” part. And I sort of read it and really really liked it so how could I not share it. You’re welcome.

In this award-winning author-illustrators witty sequel to the traditional Goldilocks story, Little Bear is all grown up and Goldilocks is a distant memory. One day, Little Bear wanders out of the woods and finds himself lost in the Big City. Will he find the city too noisy? Too quiet? Or just right? And what are the chances of him bumping in to someone who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge?—publisher’s comment.

There is a Charlie & Lola*-esque quality to Goldilocks and Just One Bear: the easy way the message comes across as the aside it sort of is; the vibrant combination of colors; mixed-media; and the charming and clever British way of phrasing things is about where the similarities go. Leigh Hodgkinson’s creativity will not fail to charm its audience. It is fun to read the signage in the cityscape upon which Bear encounters on his evening walk and note those kinds of details, but the way she guides Bear through a familiar story template is what sets it apart. Hodgkinson makes the breaks where it serves the story best and plays with the scripting of the food, chair, and bed sequences.

The father person’s “chair” was too “ouchy” because it was actually a cactus. The mommy person’s chair was too “noisy” because he was actually sitting on the cat. But the boy person’s chair was just right as he plops down on a bean bag chair—breaking it in a way the boy person finds no complaint as he is shown tossing the stuffing into the air with a smile. There are a lot of fun descriptive words Hodgkinson draws added attention to by underlining here and illustrating select words there like “frothy” and making it look frothy, “crunchy” looks crunchy, and “pink” isn’t only pink but a bit prissy and posh—like the mommy person who owns the bed that is just too pink to sleep in.

And just who is this mommy person? It is a sweet moment when the reunion is made, a flashback of Goldilocks’ encounter years before, followed by an amused acknowledgement by Bear (“I would never do that, of course”). But then everyone behaves a bit badly sometimes, don’t they? and not always because their intentions are bad. See, the moral just slipped in there right before a perfectly charmed little ending. Where we recall the other things Baby Bear and Goldilocks had in common way back when, like how they both like their porridge. Bear seemed so at odds with this urban and posh environment at the beginning, bumbling along a bit, but he eventually finds how it can be just right—at least for his now grown childhood memory Goldilocks. Hodgkinson takes us on a sweet and hilarious reminiscence to learn whatever happened to Goldilocks and the one bear?

*Lauren Child’s book series which I highly recommend.

{images belong to Leigh Hodgkinson}

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