Leigh Hodgkinson is brilliant! An exploration of her website, Wonkybutton and her book blog, as well as her adorable, very cool blog about creative things she does with her young daughter, took up much of my evening. After reading her newest picture book, Goldilocks and Just the One Bear, I flipped to the author bio and learned that Hodgkinson, who is also a filmmaker and animator, worked on the award winning television series Charlie and Lola! This makes so much sense if you are familiar with the work of Lauren Child, author of (besides the Charlie & Lola books, the Clarice Bean series, among others). These two utterly talented women seem to have a similar flair for patterns, collages, vibrant colors and, above all, HUMOR! These people write (and illustrate) very funny books.
Since Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs came out in 1989, it's been tough to top them when it comes to turning fairy tales on their heads. However, Hodgkinson definitely brings something new to this realm with her retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks and Just the One Bear. Instead of a little girl lost in the forest, we find a bear (with a spoon...) wandering in the big city, completely lost and a little bit frightened. In fact, "he didn't have a crumb-of-a-clue where he was," and his "furry legs were slightly wobbly."
The bear decides the best course of action is to "pop into Snooty Towers and get away from this terrible racket." You know how the story goes, but that really doesn't matter because you just can't wait to see what kind of twist and tweak Hodgkinson lends to this tale. One fine example is the bear looking for a bite to eat. Thinking everything is porridge, he eats from the fish bowl as if it were soup (too soggy.) He moves on to the kitty kibble shaped like fish (too crunchy.)
The chair scene proves even funnier, but I won't ruin it for you. As the bear finally finds a bed to snuggle into, he begins to dream of "puttering around in his slippers." Then he dreamed of "a voice shouting very loudly." The family who lives in Snooty Towers has come home!
But the real surprise is who the bear meets when all the shouting is over!! Boys and girls will love this story, especially if they know the original, so be sure to get out your fairy tale collection just in case. Goldilocks and Just the One Bear is so much fun I can't wait to see what Leigh Hodgkinson does next!!
Some of you may remember my review from earlier in the year of Niklas Catlow's phenomenal new series, Mega Mash-Ups. A mash-up of a doodle book and do-it-yourself chapter book as well as crazy adventures that really do mash up out-of-this-world face-offs between robots and gorillas in the desert and pirates and ancient Egyptians in a haunted mansion, to name a few. Well, now there is a GIRL friendly version!!! Review to come, but check out these cool shots until then...
Source: Review Copy