I love a re-fashioned fairytale and they’re invariably a hit with children – even the littlest of kids can appreciate the mischief and fun in changing an original story. When children’s author Mo Willems takes on Goldilocks, you know you’re in expert storyteller hands.
I’ll start with the endpapers of Mo Willems re-telling of the story of Goldilocks. The pages are filled with working titles, that are then rejected with large red crosses – ‘Goldilocks and the Three Apes’? ‘Goldilocks and the Three Deer’? ‘Goldilocks and the Three Penguins’? ‘Goldilocks and the Three Rocket Scientists’? There are dozens more but in the end, Willems settled on Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.
The fun and silliness begins on page one with the introduction of the dinosaurs –
“Once upon a time, there were three Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur and some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.”
Willems quickly zeros in on the absurdities of the original story and exploits them beautifully.
“One day, for no particular reason, the three Dinosaurs made up their beds, positioned their chairs just so and cooked three bowls of delicious chocolate pudding at varying temperatures.”
“…Goldilocks never listened to warnings about the dangers of barging into strange, enormous houses.”
In Willems’ version of the story, there’s no porridge but there is plenty of chocolate pudding (because who can resist chocolate pudding?). Furthermore, dinosaurs particularly like chocolate pudding because if some ”innocent little succulent child” eats it all up, they become a ”chocolate filled bonbon”. Let’s hope that Goldilocks has learned a lesson after her experiences with bears!
There are ample visual jokes for very young readers and lots of subtleties in the text to amuse adults and like all good fairytales, this one ends with a moral – in fact two (one for dinosaurs and one for people!).
Find Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs online at Fishpond.