Year Published: 1999
Year Read: 2014
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers
Now, to be honest, my first exposure to Steven Guarnaccia’s artwork was through Rabbit Ears Productions’ version of “Anansi,” which was narrated by none other than DENZEL WASHINGTON! So, when I found out that Steven Guarnaccia had written and illustrated a more modern version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” I just had to give this book a shot!
Basically, this book is a retelling of the popular fairy tale story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” where the story starts off with the three bears going out for a walk in order for their bowls of chili to cool off. Later on, a little girl named Goldilocks stumbles upon their house and starts ruining the three bears’ furniture and food when she tried to get herself comfortable in the house. This is a more modern day take on the classic story as the artwork is inspired by the modernism movement in its art style.
Steven Guarnaccia’s artwork was probably the best part of this story, as they brilliantly complement the contemporary style for the popular fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” I loved the way that in the inside covers; we actually see what the names of the furniture being shown in this book are, such as a sofa called the “Alessandro Becchi,” which is a 1971 Italian “Anfibio” sofa and a chair called the 1955 “Series 7.” The names of the furniture actually gives the book an extremely authentic and creative flair as each furniture have unique names that really made them stand out in the entire book. Steven Guarnaccia had also done a brilliant job at detailing the characters in this book, especially of the three bears themselves. I loved the way that each of the three bears have their own unique styles regarding their clothing; such as the Papa Bear wearing a purple and golden checkerboard shirt and a pair of shades; the Mama Bear wearing a pink bandana on her head along with beige colored pants and a shirt that seems like something that came out of an abstract art; and the Baby Bear wearing a raccoon hat along with a blue and white striped T-shirt. I also loved the illustrations of Goldilocks herself as she is seen with her hair pulled into a ponytail and she wears a shirt that is green with black stars and red pants that comes along with the black shoes.
The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because I felt that this book could have been much more creative with the concept of having a more modernized version of the classic fairy tale. I was actually wishing that the three bears were in a jazz band or something like that because it would have fit nicely with the modernized artwork of the classic story, especially with the Papa Bear looking like he would enjoy playing a saxophone in a jazz band. I also would have liked it more if this book actually provided a back story of sorts for Goldilocks since that would have fleshed out her character further besides just being a little girl who just happens to stumble upon a house full of bears. I would have liked it if this version of Goldilocks was known to be a bad child (just like in both the Rabbit Ears version and James Marshall’s version of the classic tale) and had to learn her lesson about breaking into other people’s homes without permission the hard way.
Overall, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is a truly creative book that takes a more modern day spin on the famous classic fairy tale and children who love modernized takes on classic fairy tales will definitely enjoy this book! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the modernized style of the artwork might be too complex for some children.