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Review: Goldilocks and the Seven Squat Bears

Seven squat bears come home from a hard day at the salt mines and discover to their horror that their house has been broken into–and the giant culprit is now asleep on their seven little beds. Sounds like a job for Goldilocks, the giant-slaying prince!

Goldilocks and the Seven Squat Bears
Emile Bravo
Publisher’s Age Rating: All Ages; Good Comics for Kids Recommends: Ages 7-11, Grades 2-5
Yen Press, August 2010, ISBN 978-0-316-08358-4
32 pages, $14.99

Yen Press moves from licensing the comics of Japan and Korea to bringing over childrens’ comics from France in their release of the first book in Bravo’s silly Seven Squat Bears series. Bravo’s series has won acclaim in his native land and for good reason. This fairy tale mash-up is the best combination of good storytelling and terrific art. Fairy tale fans in particular will love playing “spot the tale” as they try to pin-point which parts of the story are from which fairy tale. By focusing his plot on the down-to-earth bears, Bravo highlights the ridiculous aspects of fairy stories and encourages his audience to laugh along with him. Just the right touch of childish humor–such as the bears giggling when the prince goes to kiss a sleeping girl–insures that this story isn’t too cutesy, so it will appeal to boy readers as well as girls.

Bravo’s art has a droll quality to it that also keeps the story from being overly fantastic. The wide, nervous eyes of his rather intelligent bears contrast nicely with the small, pinprick eyes of the idiotic human characters. The color palette is bright, but not childish and though Bravo sticks to rectangular and square panels, he varies them as needed to move the story along. Though the slim, short, picture book shape of this graphic novel might make it seem young, the story has a wide age range appeal. For younger kids, the varied characters give adult readers the opportunity to try out different voices, but older readers will enjoy reading this one on their own and will get even more of the jokes. Handselling and use in displays will insure that this one finds an audience and once that happens, they’ll be eager for the next books in the series.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Yen Press.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.


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