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Byron Barton is the creator of many picture books for young children, including My Car, Building a House, and Little Red Hen.
PreS-- The Three Bears go basic, and they've seldom looked better. Recognizing that the tale's youngest fans focus on its core and skip over the embellishments, Barton distills it to a bare outline and the rhythmic refrains that preschoolers love to hear. This is a celebration of their literary needs and a huge success in meeting them. The illustrations are comfortably reminiscent of children's drawing styles, both in simplicity and vision, including a woods of lollipop trees. The paintings are bold and brightly colored; most include just the fundamental items (three chairs, three beds, etc.) with no extra clutter. Observant listeners will notice a few nice details: the single flowers left behind by Goldilocks at the sites of her explorations; the use of one color to identify each bear's belongings (Papa Bear's pants, bed, bowl, and chair are blue). This volume hits the target so squarely that its success is virtually guaranteed as a story-time crowd-pleaser. It's an uncomplicated, relaxing bedtime story and a confidence-builder for very young children who want books to flip through solo. In libraries that already enjoy the handsomeness of Jan Brett's version (Putnam, 1987), the atmosphere of the Eisen/Ferris variation (Knopf, 1987), and the humor of James Marshall's rendition (Dial, 1988), Barton's retelling will be a wonderful complement. --Liza Bliss, formerly at Leominster Pub . Lib . , MA
With his pared-down text and one-dimensional, vibrantly colored images, Barton ( Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones ; I Want to Be an Astronaut ) offers a neatly distilled version of this classic tale. Preschoolers can memorize the simple verse in no time and will delight in chiming in as Papa, Mama and Baby Bear complain in turn about the apparent presence of an unwanted guest. Barton adds a few minor variations: the first two chairs in which Goldilocks sits rock ``too fast'' and ``too slow''; finally, Baby Bear's chair ``rocked just right.'' Among the winsome artistic touches are a telltale trail of flowers that the primitively rendered girl leaves throughout the bears' house and true-to-life crease marks in pillows and blankets. This unassuming rendition is best suited to those at the younger end of the intended age span. Ages 3-6. (Nov.)