When inventor’s block strikes, Goldilocks leaves her house open to some benevolent intruders.

In this rhyming reversal of the classic English fairy tale, it’s pale, pink-cheeked, straw-blond Goldilocks who owns a home, where her bed, chair, and porridge are all set up the way she likes them. As an inventor, she works in the style of Rube Goldberg—more cartoonish than practical—making “gadgets that could zip your coat / and tie your tennis shoes. / Tools that help you seek and find / whatever you might lose.” Illustrations of the last doodad, for example, show a hat with attached flashlight, magnifying glass, and teeny satellite dish. Bright primary colors, simple shapes, and carefree lines provide a lighthearted silliness well-matched with the rhyme, so that when three passing brown bears walk into Goldilocks’ empty home, there’s no guile involved. “We truly couldn’t help ourselves,” they claim; “we’re three bear engineers!” They add wheels to her chair, honey to her porridge, and new gears to her self-rocking bed. The “innovations” are just caricatures of various everyday devices, but a returning Goldilocks is still delighted to discover them, and she invites the bears back to “make the next big thing.” There’s not much under the surface of this teamwork story (aside from the minor home invasion), but it’s an amusing read-aloud and good for a game of spot-the-screwdriver.

A cute, zany retelling. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2997-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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