Archive | May 2015












Robyn Press

Caitlin Miller

Little Steps Publishing, 2015

pbk., 32pp., RRP $A16.95


The story of Goldilocks and the three bears is a familiar traditional tale passed down through generations, but it always ends with Goldilocks fleeing into the woods destination unknown.  In this rhyming version, the story is continued as Goldilocks is charged with break and enter, damaging goods, and terrorising bears.  She claims she has a defence – she was employed by Mrs Bear to renovate her home but it had to be done in secret because Mr Bear would not agree.

My bear-in-law is coming here

The house is in bad shape, We haven’t had the time, you see

We’ve had to hibernate.

It’s been a few long winters

The house is getting old

And you’re the one to make it new

Or so I have been told.

 And so Goldilocks goes on to explain just how the chair got broken, how the porridge got eaten and why she was found asleep in the bed.

Brightly illustrated, it is written by a Brisbane primary teacher who clearly knows how to engage young children and make them think beyond the page.  As well as being an appealing story it raises lots of questions for the children to discuss such as whether they believe Goldilocks or they could even hold a mock trial developing the arguments for the prosecution and defence and each student being a jury member coming to a verdict and explaining why they reached their conclusion.  

It also offers a way to demonstrate the concept of perspective and how this changes depending on the character’s role in the story, paving the way for the students to examine other stories from the perspectives of their different characters.

So, as well as an entertaining story, it has great potential as a teaching tool.

A Bed for Bear

A Bed for Bear

A Bed for Bear











A Bed for Bear

Clive McFarland

HarperCollins, 2014

hbk., 32pp., RRP $A24.99


Winter is coming and it is time for bears to hibernate.  But Bernard Bear did not want to sleep in the bear cave.  It was too noisy, too big and too crowded.  But he must find somewhere … and soon.  So he sets out to find a bed that is just right for him.

Frog’s lilypad looks nice but it is not made for a bear and wet is not comfortable.  And Bird’s bed is too windy and Rabbit’s is too small.  Will Bear ever find a bed that is just right for bears?  And how will a teeny, tiny mouse help a big bear find a bed?

Even though the theme of creatures looking for that which is just right for them and trying all sorts of options is common, this is a charming tale that has a sense of newness and novelty about it.  Illustrated with no extraneous detail apart from the focus of the text, the characters take centre stage, each one original and quirky.  The text has a repetitive element that young children will join in with and they will delight in trying to find Mouse in the pictures.  It could be a great introduction to investigating where animals live as well as challenging them to think of the characteristics that a bear’s bed should have before Mouse solves the problem. 

There is also the issue of Bear destroying all the beds he tries without apologising or helping to fix them which could set up some discussion about ethical behaviour at the child’s level.

An intriguing debut for this author/illustrator that, like good picture books do, offers more than initially meets the eye.