A funny, creative take on a well-known fairy tale.

GOLDILOCKS

THE NAME-FAME-DAME

Pattison’s picture book offers a unique spin on an old classic.

Goldilocks is famous in town for her golden hair. She enters a cave where a troll family lives, sees food on their table, and commences tasting. She decides the smallest dish is too “jitter-bitter,” the middle-sized one is a too “treat-sweet,” but the biggest dish is a “just right-delight.” She also sits in and breaks (!) one of their chairs. Neighbors peek through the window, watching Goldilocks, who eventually takes a “snap-nap” in the trolls’ beds. The police are called. Papa Troll tells the cop, who’s a pink bear, “This is the third time I’ve found Goldilocks in my cave this bleak-week!” The cop awakens Goldilocks and tells her she is a thief. She retorts, “You can’t do anything to me!” The story concludes with Goldilocks in the clink and a reminder to stay out of “rubble-trouble.” Pattison’s use of silly language adds an amusing layer to the story, making this a good pick for a read-aloud. Bartolomé’s colorful, simple illustrations offer drawn interpretations and unique textured backgrounds; for example, the last page depicts Goldilocks in “folktale-jail,” laughing and swapping stories with the Big Bad Wolf.

A funny, creative take on a well-known fairy tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62944-162-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Mims House, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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