Fractured versions of familiar tales never seem to get old; they’re almost always funny, especially with a main character as hilariously abashed as this one.
The main player is ostensibly Goldilocks, but it’s really Papa Bear, who is the only one who doesn’t realize he’s in a book. Once he does, nerves get the best of him: After uttering his first line correctly, his worries become self-fulfilling when he sits on Baby Bear’s too-small chair, which of course smashes into smithereens, tumbling an embarrassed Papa to the floor. He flees the pages and dashes through other stories, Goldilocks and Baby Bear in hot pursuit, eventually to be drawn back by the smell of Mama’s porridge. Cheerful, bright illustrations utilize creative devices to clarify the action: Characters are able to see (and physically manipulate) the Narrator’s lines; the parts of the plot set in other books are signaled by illustrated page corners turning up or by showing an actual book opened up and Papa Bear romping through its illustrations.
This is metafiction done very well; it’s actually three stories in one: Goldilocks’, Papa Bear’s, and of course, the one read by the Narrator character. All will have children chortling. (Picture book. 5-9)