Title: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
Published: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins), 2012
When I was three, my grandma bought me a book called “Goldilocks.” It was the classic tale, but with TOTALLY late-seventies-early-eighties-style art. It was the art that won my little heart (it was so chunky and cute), but the story was exceptionally lacklustre. Like, picture your uncle who doesn’t really like children telling you a story just to get it over with. Like that. No pizzazz! No flowery language. Just the facts.
In short, it was boring.
Thankfully, my kiddos have Mo Willems’ Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs to entertain them. Now, you’re all well aware of my incredible admiration/fandom when it comes to Mr. Willems. I think he’s brilliant. His work is exceptional and he understands what kids find funny in a way very few others do.
This book does not disappoint.
The art is, as per usual, hilarious. The thing Mo Willems does best, IMHO, is expressions. His characters aren’t overly complicated, in terms of “could I draw something that looks approximately like that dinosaur? Yes!” but the expressiveness is off the charts. In no universe can I make a dinosaur look that devious.
Aside from the fabulous pictures, the story is laugh-out-loud funny. It starts when you first open the book. On the inside back of the cover and first page (and on the back of the last page and inside back cover), there are other ‘possible’ titles for the book, all crossed out. Personal favourites include: Goldilocks and the Three Rocket Scientists, Goldilocks and the Three Foot-Long Hoagies and Goldilocks and the Three Major Networks.
Not gonna lie, I’d read those.
Anyway, the story is based on the original, of course, but it’s also a bit different. First, instead of bears, there are dinosaurs. Next, instead of porridge, there’s chocolate pudding. And instead of breaking Baby Bear’s chair, Goldilocks just refuses to climb up the insanely high dino chairs.
The funniest bits:
- The dinosaurs purposely went for a walk and left their pudding in the kitchen with a handily-placed ladder, so any small wandering children might climb up and help themselves. Why? Because dinos love delicious chocolate-filled-little-girl-bonbons.
- The dinosaur from Norway is awesome.
- The whole sequence with the chairs is really well written.
- The ending is super. More about that in a sec.
- Throughout the story, there are hilarious side notes about the dinosaurs’ exclamations as they’re supposed to be hidden. Like when Mama Dino yells loudly and then Mo suggests “But that could have been a rock falling. Or a squirrel.”
As in the original, Goldilocks ends up in the bedroom. Unlike the original, in this book she realizes something: the furniture in the house is gigantic. And the sign on the wall suggests that perhaps the home does not belong to bears.
Goldilocks puts the pieces together at the last possible moment and escapes.
The dinosaurs return from their walk and they find that Goldilocks has dashed out the back door. Which was accidentally left unlocked.
The moral of the story for Goldilocks is: If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
And for the dinosaurs? Lock the back door! (I love the disapproving look Mama Dinosaur is giving the two others. She’s holding the key like, “Seriously. You guys had ONE JOB.”)
Mama’s Review: 10/10
Lily’s Review: “I like the part where they are in the forest, trying to hide. I could totally see them.”