GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS; Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner; New York: Penguin, 2007; unpaged. Picture Book.
Caralyn Buehner's pleasantly straightforward retelling of the Three Bears is brilliantly complemented by her husband's lovely, funny illustrations. "Once upon a time, in a little house in the woods, there lived a family of bears," and the woods are Rocky Mountain woods--aspen, blue spruce, with a glittering mountain stream nearby. As the bears leave to let their porridge cool, the blues and greens of this halcyon setting give way to a frenetic bright red and yellow Goldilocks, skipping rope down the path, and speaking in rhymes of jump-rope meter. Goldilocks' googling eyes and shredded wheat ringlets reflect her annoyingly frenetic nature and we greet with relief the return of the bears who scare her out the window. As usual in a Buehner book, the pictures are laugh-aloud funny. Everything is "bear" in this house--Smokey Bear on the wall, a bear cookie jar, a Quaker bear on the oatmeal box, and a honey bear on the table. Spoofery is so rampant these days it is hard to find traditional stories told straight--this one is a treasure.