The scion of Janet and Allan Ahlberg continues the family tradition with another novelty fractured fairy tale—actually, make that tales.
Lucy begins right on the endpapers with a story for her dog, Mr. Barker, but by the title page it is clear he isn’t listening. He leaps out of the window of her room—a child’s delight with books and toys and a mural that will figure prominently in the rest of the tale. It’s a cutout window, so Lucy pops through herself, finding a golden-haired girl eating porridge on the other side. Lucy muses, “I know where we are,” and invites Goldilocks to leave with her, as the bears are on their way home. They run to the straw house of the three little pigs (Goldie does not let go of her bowl of porridge), where they suggest that the pigs join them to avoid the wolf. They pop through to three more fairy-tale settings, each time peering through a cutout window to the next scene and bringing along characters from the preceding tale before returning to Lucy’s bedroom. There are nice details, such as the drafting table upon which the piggies are sketching a house of sticks, and lovely sunlit colors in each spread. Within this most European of conceits, Ahlberg injects some diversity: Goldie is blonde, Jack is a redhead, Lucy is a brunette with tea-colored skin, and Sleeping Beauty might be Latina or South Asian in her heritage.
A fairy-tale mashup light as a feather and pretty as a sunny morning. (Picture book. 4-8)