Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson

As you can see from the cover image above, this is a very lush rendering of the classic fairy tale.  It follows along with the classic version until the very end when Goldilocks does not run away, instead she stays.  She remakes the beds and helps mend the chair she broke.  When the bears are still hungry, Goldilocks offers them the blueberries she had been picking.  After one scary moment when the bears salivate right at her, all is well and they share blueberry muffins and tea.

I know that may sound odd to change the ending of the story.  However, it really worked for me.  It changes the character of Goldilocks entirely into a girl who made a series of mistakes but takes responsibility.  Rather than a girl who makes mistakes and then runs from them without consequence.  However it is not the story here that makes this book such an enchanting read.  It is Sanderson’s art.  The art has a very European feel with classic German touches.  The tiny details have a lot of impact in the illustrations from Goldilocks’ lace hem to the hearts on the chairs and the ivy curling at the windows.  Sanderson has created an entire world here that is brought to life through the story.  The bears are rendered as naturally as bears wearing clothes can be.  They are less teddy bear and more wild, which also makes scenes in the book much more effective. 

We all have copies of Goldilocks on our shelves, but this one is worth making some space for.  It is neither too soft nor too hard.  It is just right.  Appropriate for ages 3-7.

Check out Ruth Sanderson’s Golden Wood Studio online.

Reviewed from library copy.

Under the Snow

Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Constance R. Bergum

After our blizzard on Wednesday, this book seems like a very appropriate choice as we dig ourselves out of 14 inches of snow.

Find out what animals and insects are hidden under the snow as they try to survive the winter.  Ladybugs packed into a gap in a stone wall and  butterflies that are active in the winter may surprise readers.  The cozy burrow of a chipmunk and the sleeping woodchuck deep underground will charm.  Then readers get to look below the ice on the pond to turtles, fish, frogs and newts to see the different ways they act in winter. 

Stewart keeps her explanations of the animals simple and straightforward enough to use with preschoolers.  I would have liked to have seen an appendix with more information on the animals themselves.  Bergum’s watercolor illustrations capture the animals and their natural surroundings with great skill.  They offer close-ups when they are needed and still manage to evoke the larger environment of field, forest and pond. 

A very nice scientific look at animals in winter, this will be welcome in preschool classrooms or for winter story times looking for nonfiction that is very readable.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Also reviewed by 100 Scope Notes.