One of my pet peeves about children's literature is that so much of it is so very earnest. Half the time a book is clubbing you over the head with a message about good behavior or it's so sweet that it borders on creepy. It bothers me that a lot of authors seem to think that kids can't or won't pick up on humor in their stories, and I'm not talking about obvious humor like Captain Underpants, I'm just talking about a lighthearted, funny tone. Mo Willems does not have this problem. We are big fans of Mr. Willems around here. The Pigeon books and Knuffle Bunny have places of honor on the girls' bookshelves. My husband and I even have a special voice for reading the Pigeon, because we are
That's why I had great expectations for Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Unfortunately, for me this book fell short. I am all for writing with humor and even throwing a wink or two in there for the grownups who have to read the same book out loud every night for a month. Here though, the author just takes that whole thing a bit too far. The book is a sarcastic send-up of the traditional tale and it is pretty funny, but almost all of it went right over the kids' heads. Of course I didn't expect the Nugget to get any of the jokes but I thought the Buddy would think it was funny at least. Not so much. I found myself reading it loudly so that my husband would hear it while he was making dinner in the kitchen--this way at least somebody else would get it. The kids just seemed bewildered.
In general I think Mo Willems is a great author and I love what he has done for kids' books. I just think he got a little carried away with this one. It's possible that he is trying to reach out to kids who are older than his usual audience. Fourth and fifth graders would probably think this book was hilarious. If you have never checked out a Mo Willems book I strongly encourage you to do so. Just maybe not this one for young kids.