Willems uses a gentle dose of anthropomorphism to make his dinosaurs more relatable to the reader, especially those who are already familiar with Goldilocks’ mischief. Throughout the book, the dinosaurs seem a little devious, setting traps for the little girl, but they also seem like creatures children would want to be friends with. Besides twisting the well-known fairy tale, Willems also turns it more into a fable by ending the story with morals (however questionable those may be…).
Awards and honors earned by Mo Willems’ Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs include: Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books of 2012, Picture Books; School Library Journal Best Children’s Books 2012, Picture Books; 2013 Irma Black Award Finalist; Los Angeles Public Library Best of 2012 Children’s Books; ALSC 2013 Notable Children’s Books, Younger Readers; 2013 Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winner; IRA Children’s Choices, Beginning Readers, 2013.
- Find the references to Willems’ other works within the illustrations. If the reader doesn’t know any of his other books, it’s a good opportunity to make them eager to read more!
- Pause after each page and ask what might happen next. Children who know the more traditional version of Goldilocks might be surprised at the turn of events in this version!
- The endpapers show that Willems went through quite a few ideas before settling on dinosaurs. Examples include Goldilocks and the Three Naked Mole Rats or Goldilocks and the Three-Piece Band. Have the readers pick a few of their favorites and brainstorm about how that version of the story might go! If time allows, you can expand this project into a storytelling event, or have the children draw the characters for their own book.