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Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Retold by Jim Aylesworth
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Scholastic, 2003)
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jim Aylesworth

Aylesworth, Jim, reteller. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, $15.95. ISBN: 0-439-39545-3.
Response Suggestions
  1. After examining several retellings (with illustrations) of "The Three Bears" story, discuss the similarities and differences. Use these tales to outline or layout the story grammar (that is the basic tale). Discuss how each author's inclusion of details about characters or scenes change the tale in some way. Some retellers have created a fractured version of the tale -- changing some of the basic scenes in the story and have put the story and its characters in a more contemporary setting.
  • Brett, Jan. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Illustrated by Jan Brett. Dodd, 1987. -- traditional
  • Catalano, Dominic. Santa and the Three Bears. Illustrated by Dominic Catalano. Boyds Mills, 2003. -- a fractured version to read after children are totally familiar with traditional variants.
  • Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears. Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Clarion, 1979. -- traditional
  • Gorbachev, Valeri. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. North-South Books, 2003.-- traditional
  • Jacobs, Joseph. "The Three Bears." In Tomie dePaola's Favorite Nursery Tales. Edited and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Putnam, 1986.-- traditional
  • Marshall, James, reteller. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Illustrated by James Marshall. Dial, 1988. -- traditional (with a twist or two)
  • Rockwell, Ann. Three Bears & 15 Other Stories. Illustrated by Anne Rockwell. Crowell, 1975; HarperTrophy, 1984.
  • Spowart, Robin. The Three Bears. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. Knopf, 1987. -- traditional
  • Stanley, Diane. Goldie and the Three Bears. Illustrated by Diane Stanley. HarperCollins, 2003 -- a contemporary and fractured setting
  • Stevens, Janet. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. Holiday, 1986. -- traditional

  1.  Make a three-dimensional map of the bears' home setting, the woods, Goldilock's home, etc.
  1. Script "The Three Bears" story for a readers theater presentation or a live dramatic production; or present a shadow play with cutout characters, using an overhead platform as the stage.
  1. Discuss whether the three bears should be wearing clothes or not. in connection with this response read:
            Barrett, Judi. Animals Should Definitely Not Act Like People. illustrated by Ron Barrett. Atheneum, 1980.
            Barrett, Judi. Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. illustrated by Ron Barrett. Atheneum, 1974.

  1.   Connect prose and poetry--
  • Read the poem "The Bear with the Golden Hair" by Karla Kuskin. One source for the poem is Kuskin's poetry collection Dogs & Dragons, Trees & Dreams: A collection of Poems (Harper, 1980).
  • Read Jane Yolen's The Three Bears Rhyme Book (Harcourt, 1987) and The Three Bears Holiday Rhyme Book (Harcourt, 1995). Both collections have delightful illustrations by Jane Dyer.
  1. Make a list titled "Books About Bears" or "Things We Know About Bears" -- put your information on a large bear-shaped piece of butcher paper.
  1. Tales - Using Goldilocks or the Three Bears as characters.
    This is what comes of using familiar characters in new -- usually humorous tales. After students are completely familiar with the traditional tale (and the more traditional retellings) try these tales.
  • Ada, Alma Flor. Yours Truly, Goldilocks. Illustrated by Leslie Tryon. Atheneum, 1998. -- Integrate the skill of letter writing and correlate with the reading of other folktales whose characters are also part of this story. You might also wish to use Dear Peter Rabbit by Ada (Aladdin, 1997)
  • Fearnley, Jan. Mr. Wolf and the Three Bears. Harcourt, 2002. -- This tale was originally published in England by Egmont Books in London. There is a web site associated with that edition at www.hungry-wolf.com. Be sure to check out the recipes -- measurements will be in metric measure. Perhaps these recipes can help stimulate the collection of other literary recipes (see the recipe in Aylesworth book for "Mama Bear's Porridge Cookies" ) for a class collection of recipes.
      For more sophisticated readers:

      Comparing to the historical tale: The timeless fairy tale is given a new perspective through Aylesworth's witty text and McClintock's illustrations detailed pen and watercolor illustrations. Although this tale is retold from classic fare for a young audience, an earlier version of the story was somewhat different from subsequent retellings. In 1837, a Robert Southey retold a story of a small, wee bear, a middle-sized bear, and a great, huge bear. Southey talked about a "little old woman" who came to the house and who "could not have been a good honest old woman; for the first she looked in at the window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole." the story ends with: "The three bears never saw anything more of her." Joseph Cundall deemed the old woman an unsatisfactory element in the tale, so when he retold the tale in his Treasury of Pleasure Books for Young Children (1850), an intruder was a little girl named Silver-Hair. It is reported that he did that because there were so many other stories of old women. Silver-Hair remains the name of the girl in many retellings even to this day. In 1858, in Aunt Mavor's nursery Tales, the intruder is caller "Silver -Locks." Joseph Jacobs, who retold the story in More English Fairy Tales (1894) substituted a fox as the intruder. The first use of the name Goldilocks seems to have been in Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes, illustrated by John Hassall (1904) Elements from many of these early versions remain to this day. Along the way, several versions, the small, wee bear became Baby Bear, the middle-sized bear became Mother Bear, and the great, huge bear became Father Bear or Papa Bear.
  • After reading Aylesworth's retelling of Goldilocks discuss the information about the origin of the story of "The Three Bears" and compare this retelling to the elements that might have been included. Discuss how the book might have changed had a fox been in the story, or an old woman, or Silver-Locks. which would have changed the story the most? The least?
      Comparing Illustrations: Barbara McClintock's illustrations for Aylesworth's retelling are pen and watercolor and bring to mind the early illustrations of Ralph Caldecott, Sir John Tenniel or kate Greenaway. Various illustrators have shown the bowls of porridge, the chairs, and the beds in different ways, and the introductory portion of the story gives a variety of information. Each of the beds in Rockwell's illustrations is covered with a quilt, and the length of the bed clearly indicates its size. compare the setting for each story and the depiction of the bears and Goldilocks. nestled in a clump of trees, Anne Rockwell's bears live in a stone house of sorts with a castle-style turret. Goldilocks visits a rather modern-looking kitchen -- the stone has gas burners, and a bowl of artificial fruit sits on a counter. Goldilocks sits in three distinctly different chairs, one an overstuffed easy chair. In several versions the chair for the Middle-sized (or Mama) Bear is an overstuffed chair, while the other chairs are wooden chairs or rockers. Compare the dialogue that takes place when the bears return and find their belongings damaged. Some editions refer to the bears as Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear, while others use Great Huge Bear (or Big Bear), Middle-Sized Bear, and Wee Small Bear. he version illustrated by Jan Brett shows some magnificent costuming on each of the three bears, and the bowls, chairs, and beds are ornately appointed with bear images and traditional Slavic designs. Steven's illustrations present the bear family as quite ordinary. mama Bear is shown in a dress, high heels, and pearl necklace. Papa Bear wears a plaid shirt and pants with suspenders. And Baby Bear is dressed in overalls and tennis shoes. The comparative sizes of the bears, bowls, chairs, and beds are clearly depicted in the illustrations. Goldilocks is shown as an ordinary schoolgirl in a simple pinafore.
  • Reread Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jim Aylesworth and look at the illustrations by Barbara McClintock in relation to the points discussed above. Note the terms Aylesworth uses to describe the characters, describe standard episodes etc. Discuss how this version is similar to or different from other versions.

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Text for Classroom Connections section © 2003-2009 Sharron McElmeel @ McBookwords.
Portions of this text may have been published in earlier publications and are reprinted here with permission.

©2009   Jim Aylesworth -- All Rights Reserved.