I love reading different versions of fairy tales. It was one of my favorite units that I used with my fourth and fifth graders. Authors have the ability to tweak a story that the audience is familiar with in new and often comical ways. In this version of the traditional story, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Mo Willems does just that. He plays with the plot line of the traditional story, by featuring hungry dinosaurs that are somehow familiar with the past behavior of Goldilocks.
Willems changes the story in many other ways as well, some of which had me laughing out loud. Obviously the story contains dinosaurs instead of bears. Also, instead of a Mama, Papa, and Baby living in the house, this story features a “Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur, and some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.” Throughout the book, the dinosaur visiting from Norway just goes along with what the others are doing and tries to speak, but nobody knows what he is saying.
My three-year-old really enjoyed reading this book, however, she couldn’t possibly understand all of the humor hidden within the pages. She loves Goldilocks and the illustrations are what she is really into. In order to fully appreciate the hilarity of this book, you must have a good understanding of the traditional story and you have to be able to pick up on some of the hints Willems includes in the text and illustrations. Therefore, I would recommend this book for a large age group. I think that preschoolers would enjoy aspects of the book and upper elementary student-aged children would enjoy other features (such as the “Wipe Your Talons” welcome mat). The book is also humorous for adults. As soon as we finished reading it for the first time, my daughter asked me to read it again (that is her thing now) and I was more than happy to oblige.
Overall, I found “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” Retold by Mo Willems to be a really entertaining book that I see us reading over and over again for years to come! Enjoy!
PPS-If you do pick up a copy of this book, see if you can find where Willems has hidden his signature pigeon….
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