Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems, is a fractured version of the traditional Goldilocks story. The three dinosaurs ("Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur, and some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway") set out three big bowls of delicous chocolate pudding and then leave the house, "definitely not hiding in the woods waiting for an unsuspecting kid to come by" and become a "delicious chocolate-filled-little-girl-bonbon". A "poorly supervised little girl named Goldilocks" falls right into their trap. Will she escape, or be eaten by dinosaurs? Given the level of black humor here, it seems that the story could go either way.
The illustrations in Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs are more detailed than the Elephant & Piggie or Pigeon books, but still rendered with a deceptively childlike simplicity. Willems throws in little details for the alert reader, though, like a calendar page showing "NORWAY "Gateway to Sweden"", and a glimpse of the Pigeon trapped in a cookie jar. The images of Trixie, I mean Goldilocks, delving into the bowls of chocolate pudding are priceless.
I think that Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is hilarious overall. It is vintage Mo Willems, featuring joke after joke, and a little girl who looks remarkably like Trixie from Knuffle Bunny. One wonders, almost, if this is a book for children at all. Because this is a book that any adult would find entertaining. I laughed aloud on page after page.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is completely over the head of 2 1/2 year old Baby Bookworm. She (though a huge fan of the Kuffle Bunny and Pigeon books) dismissed it completely. But I would love to try it on a five year old with a well-developed sense of humor. I mean, the laughs are everywhere. Like this:
"Either way, Goldilocks was not the type of little girl who listened to anyone or anything.
For example, Goldilocks never listened to warnings about the dangers of barging into strange, enormous homes."
The welcome mat of the "strange, enormous home" says "WELCOME (Tee-Hee!)".
I could go on. But really, you should read Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs yourself. It is the funniest thing I've read in ages, and receives my highest recommendation. We are certainly keeping our copy on reserve for when Baby Bookworm is old enough to appreciate it. And yes, this book has been nominated for the 2012 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).