A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Kay Chorao (Shadow Night). Rosekrans Hoffman (Pignic), and Ethel Kessler (Stan the Hot Dog Man).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Eleanor Clymer (1906â€“2001), The Trolley Car Family.
- Help! The distress signal â€śCQDâ€ť is established in 1904 only to be replaced two years later by â€śSOS.â€ť Read The SOS File by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers; and SOS: Stories of Survival by Ed Butts.
- Itâ€™s Old Rock Day. Read Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor, If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian, and Rocks In My Pockets by Marc Harshman and Bonnie Collins.
January has been designated National Folktale Month. For those interested in some fascinating essays about the role of folklore in the lives of children, head over to the Childrenâ€™s Literature Network this month.
Ever since Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith published The True Story of Three Little Pigs, over two decades ago, fractured fairy tales, or folklore, have attracted writers and illustrators. Our book of the Day, Mo Willemsâ€™s Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, falls squarely in that tradition. Children enjoy stretching conventions, even if they are not familiar with the original version of the story. I myself grew up loving the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons that played with the fairy-tale form.
I have always found â€śGoldilocks and the Three Bearsâ€ť quite bland as a tale. Hence I was excited to see what Mo Willems, a comic genius, could do with the material. Right away on the endpapers, he has readers laughing. He writes and then crosses out a variety of titles that he will not be using for the bookâ€”fascinating ideas such as â€śGoldilocks and the Three Jumbo Shrimp.â€ť The final endpage continues this conceptâ€”with â€śGoldilocks and the Three Bearsâ€ť circled.Â Of course, all these titles will give childrenâ€”and adultsâ€”some interesting ideas for their own story.
Then we meet our protagonistsâ€”a father dinosaur, a mother dinosaur, and a dinosaur visiting from Norway. The inclusion of a foreign guest allows Willems to use a strange language and include Norway jokes. After making some delicious chocolate pudding, the three head someplace else, leaving the pudding to lure in an unsuspecting child. This Goldilocks does not listen to anyoneâ€”she just goes barging into houses. She stuffs herself with chocolate pudding and heads to bed. However, realizing that something is suspicious, our heroine takes action before the return of the dinosaurs. So all is well that ends well, and Willems even provides some very funny moral lessons.
With lively and humor-filled art, punchy sentences, and engaging characters, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs has everything to keep adults and children laughing. Although Mo Willems made his name in childrenâ€™s books with Donâ€™t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, he is far from a one-trick pony. In fact, I consider him the Dr. Seuss of our age; he can fashion one endlessly funny and fascinating book after anotherâ€”books for preschoolers, books for emerging readers, and now a fractured fairy tale. For one of his morals, Mo tells readers that â€śIf you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.â€ť When children pick up a Mo Willems book, they are never in the wrong story.
Hereâ€™s a page from Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs:
Originally posted January 7, 2013. Updated for .