A hilariously fractured fairy tale.
The structure’s well-known, so the endpapers list myriad permutations, almost all crossed out: Goldilocks and the Three Clams? Three Ostriches? Three Glasses of Milk? Nope, it’s Dinosaurs: Papa, Mama and one Dinosaur "who happened to be visiting from Norway.” Details are tasty—chocolate pudding instead of porridge; a different furniture riff (“The first chair was too tall. The second chair was too tall. But the third chair— [page turn] —WAS TOO TALL”). Even funnier are the obviously fraudulent protestations. Child-friendly irony lets readers giggle knowingly as Mama Dinosaur muses, “I SURE HOPE NO INNOCENT LITTLE SUCCULENT CHILD HAPPENS BY OUR UNLOCKED HOME WHILE WE ARE…uhhh…SOMEPLACE ELSE!” They’re “definitely not hiding in the woods waiting for an unsuspecting kid”; pudding sits unattended to enable the creation of “delicious chocolate-filled-little-girl-bonbons (which, by the way, are totally not the favorite things in the whole world for hungry Dinosaurs).” Winking, the text places readers gleefully in the know—and Goldilocks is no patsy either. Willems’ trademark cartoon-style illustrations include sly eyebrows, sardonic glances and a fabulous picture of Goldilocks inside a pudding bowl. When she’s beyond satiated, her pupils dilate—enormous, then tiny—subtly nodding to the old tale’s “too big, too small” theme.
Top-notch for group storytime, for a project on revising classics or just for enjoyment; funniest for kids who know the original. (Fractured fairy tale. 5-9)