Fearnley, Jan. Mr. Wolf and the Three Bears. Harcourt, 2002. ISBN 978-0152164232 32 pp. $
Mr. Wolf throws a birthday bash for Baby Bear and Goldilocks crashes the party as the world’s rudest guest. Poor ignorant Goldilocks is dealt a surprisingly macabre punishment for a children’s story.
This is a fractured fairy tale in the tradition of Grimm’s originals: a moral lesson is taught through violence. While older students will appreciate the sly humor, this is story that could scare the daylights out of some preschoolers. Primary colors and cuddly creatures suggest a toddler audience, while the plot and theme are more appropriate for early elementary school students. The tea party recipes are a charming addition, but too cutesy for the startling ending. Teachers may find the story useful for a unit on fractured fairy tales, but this one is so broken, best to proceed with caution.