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Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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Gennady Spirin has taken a favorite childhood tale and imbued it with charm, dressing his bears in Renaissance costumes and providing whimsical and charming furniture designed for their country dwelling. Each spread—painted in watercolor, pen, and ink—brings renewed life to this endearing children’s classic in a way that only a master illustrator can. No wonder Goldilocks want to sample the bears’ porridge, sit on their chairs, and rest on their beds!

32 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2009

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About the author

Gennady Spirin

71 books40 followers
Gennady Spirin (1948- ) is a Russian painter and children's book illustrator. A graduate of the Surikov School of Fine Art in Moscow and the Moscow Stroganov Institute of Art, he is noted for his unique style of watercolor illustration. He has illustrated works by classic authors such as William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy as well as children's books by contemporary celebrities. His oil paintings hang in public and private galleries throughout the world, and he has been profiled by The New York Times. His depiction of The Nutcracker was selected by Saks Fifth Avenue as the centerpiece of their famous Christmas display in 1997 and 1998. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992, Spirin immigrated with his wife and sons to the United States, ultimately settling in Princeton, NJ, where he has lived and worked since.

(source: Wikipedia)

Alternate spellings:
Gennadij Spirin
Gennadi Spirin
Генадий Спирин

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5 stars
31 (23%)
4 stars
53 (40%)
3 stars
37 (28%)
2 stars
11 (8%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Fantasia ☮HippieMoonchild☮.
1,271 reviews88 followers
February 27, 2022
Rating: 3 / 5

Familiar and charming as this story is, there's something almost disturbing about how the illustrations look. Like...one of those old candy advertisements where you have people that are clearly painted, but then there's something almost real about them as well.

And besides which, Goldilocks in this book reminded me a little bit of the haunted doll, Chucky, so...yeah, that was fun.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,827 followers
August 1, 2018
I discovered this version of the classic story and fell in love with the story all over again. Gennady Spirin creates incredible illustrations you have to see to believe. It captured my imagination and I can't recommend this book enough!

My Rating: 5 stars
Profile Image for L.A..
262 reviews
April 15, 2023
I mean, clearly a good artist (I checked out his Facebook page), but agreed with some other reviewers that Goldilocks has a creepy doll vibe. And the bears bodies and clothes were very people-like for…bears. Three stars for the talent behind the illustrations and for an interesting variation of the story. I’ll read it to my four-year-old so she’s familiar with the story (the reason I put it on hold at the library), but not sure she’s going to want to read it again. I won’t.
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews43 followers
September 4, 2016
As chronicled by Gennady Spirin in the back of the book, this tale has an amazing history. While there were many versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it wasn't until 1831 when a handwritten copy was discovered noting the author as Eleanor Mure. Different from the version we know today, it is an old woman who is the trespasser into the home of the three bears.

Yet another story discovered in 1837 in a collection by a man named Robert Southey also has an elder woman as the intruder.

There are also early versions wherein a fox is the character who breaks into the home of the bears and he drinks milk instead of eating porridge. The title of this publication is Scapefoot.

Fast forward to 1849 when the tale called Silver Hair included a young girl as the interloper. This was found in a book titled Cundall's Treasure of Pleasure Books for Children.

It was in 1904 when a publication titled Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes, illustrated by John Hassall that we finally have the well known tale we know today.

This book written and illustrated by Gennady Spirin includes the young blond girl and the Papa, Mama and baby bears.

With lush illustrations, Spirin paints the bears in a royal fashion. Goldilocks is beautiful, and unafraid when the bears discover her in baby bear's bed.
20 reviews1 follower
November 28, 2017
This story is the real and very traditional fairy tale of the Goldilocks and the three bears. This story was basically about 3 bears (Mama,Papa and baby bear)and Goldilocks. The main idea of the story was that the three bears made porridge and realized that it was two hot for them. So, they decided to go for a walk in the woods. While they were gone Goldilocks was also in the woods hungry and came across the bears house. She started to peek through the windows out of courtesy of what may be in there and that's when she found porridge sitting on the table in three bowls.
As she made her way into the home besides finding the porridge on the table she found 3 chairs that were different sizes along with 3 different size beds. As the story progresses Goldilocks was very tired and found the bed that was just write for her. When the bears returned they found there house turned upside down and found Goldilocks sleeping in the bed.
In this book you will find that the bears were dressed in renaissance costumes. The pictures in the story are bright and bring out the charchters making it the main focus of the page. The pages are painted with water color, pen and some ink. The illastartor uses a double page spread and has a jacket flap. Overall this story was very well written and even though there are many different versions of this book you still can see the comparisons in each book but just in a different way
Profile Image for KF-in-Georgia.
112 reviews2 followers
July 31, 2018
Lovely illustrations, but very nearly unreadable on a 7" Kindle. Marginally better on a 10" tablet, but probably only really readable on a PC monitor. (Use the Look Inside feature on Amazon. The type there is a little darker than on a Kindle screen, but it's still small--smaller than Amazon's sales type. On the Look Inside feature, you can tap a block of text to enlarge it. You can't do that on the Kindle. But you can use the Look Inside feature to send a sample to your own Kindle. Try before you buy.)

The type isn't "live," so you can't resize it or change the font. Further, it's a thin font that isn't kerned (i.e., spaced) properly. (In the word "soft" there appears to be a space between the f and the t.) The type is very small and faint.
Profile Image for Kali Hilliard.
75 reviews1 follower
October 14, 2017
K-3; traditional literature; This story is phenomenal to use in story telling! I created a story telling presentation in class, and it did really well! There are beautiful lessons throughout the story that you could share with children (certain ones every child should be aware of)
Profile Image for Erin B.
102 reviews
November 30, 2018
Genre: traditional literature; grades: 1-3. Such a classic book! This story is so cute, and I think any student would enjoy it. Not only is it a funny storyline, but there is the underlying message of sharing throughout the book. This is a must have in any classroom library.
Profile Image for AMY.
2,431 reviews
July 17, 2017
This is the basic story we all know. It has beautiful illustrations. Highly recommended for grades K-2.
1,140 reviews
August 31, 2011
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Gennady Spirin takes the tale of Goldilocks and transports it to a Renaissance setting with appropriate costumes and furniture.

This is a simplified retelling of the tale, with more emphasis on the art and less on the moral of the story. Young Goldilocks enters the house via a window. She is discovered by the bears and flees. The final sentence reads: "And that's the end of the story!"

I appreciate the mastery of the art, done in watercolor and colored pencil. There are many decorative flourishes in addition to the detailed illustrations. I find a couple of the facial expressions of Goldilocks to not match the story: her delighted look as the chair breaks, and her look of mirth as she flees the three bears seem wrong to me.

I also miss the emphasis of the moral of not breaking into people's houses and taking what doesn't belong to you. Without that moral it lacks something crucial in my opinion.

However, this version is attractive and an interesting spin on the story from the bears' perspective, and will be of interest to those who love the tale, like to read its variants, and enjoy detailed illustrations.

For ages 3 and up, Goldilocks variants, detailed illustrations, bears, Renaissance style art, and fans of Gennady Spirin.
March 13, 2014
Goldilocks, a little girl walking in the woods found a house and was curious to know those who lived in it. She peeked in the window and found that there was porridge on the table and it smelled good. The porridge according to the story was left behind by a family of three bears - the Papa Bear, the Mama Bear and the Little Bear. Hungry as she was, she got into the house and settled to eat the porridge which she found lined up in three bowls. First she tasted the one in the big bowl and found it to be too hot, then she tried the one in the middle size bowl and it was too cold, but found the one in the small bowl just right for her to eat. After eating she tried sitting on the chairs but brake the little chair, and in trying to sleep, she found the small baby bed to be suitable for her. while asleep, the bear family returned and she was frightened, leaped up and ran out of the house.

I will like to use the book to teach children about the sizes of objects. Papa Bear is the big bear, Mama Bear is the medium-size bear and Little Bear is the small bear. (big, medium, small) Children will be asked to locate and sizes of objects in the classroom and books. We will talk about the behavior of Goldilocks and question if it was acceptable that she got into a strange home and feel free to eat someone's food or sleep on someone's bed.
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,139 reviews212 followers
May 7, 2023
The illustrations in this book are exactly the kind of fairy tale world that I want to introduce my children's imagination to. I'm not familiar with Gennady Spirin, but after experiencing this story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears I definitely want to look at his backlist and future titles to come. Both the face of the little Goldilocks girl and the bears is very lifelike. It is as if real bears are wearing medieval clothing and sitting in chairs! It's enchanting and I wish there were a huge storybook to pour over with illustrations so classic in nature and imagination like this.

*Thanks to Amazon Vine for providing a copy for review.*

This is my first experience that I know of with a title from Marshall Cavendish Children's books, but after this I definitely hope to review more for them in the future with such quality books.
Profile Image for Cindy.
179 reviews5 followers
July 26, 2011
This is the traditional fairy-tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks finds her way to the three bears beautiful home where she finds that no one is home. She invites herself in and makes herself at home. When the three bears return home after a walk, waiting for their porridge to cool, they find that someone has been in the house. Some one had eaten their porridge, someone has been sitting on their chairs, and they soon discover that she is still in the house. It ends just as all other fairy-tale versions of the same tale. I really enjoyed this story because of its beautiful artwork. I think that many adult may be more fascinated with the artwork in this book than children will be. The wonderful Renaissance setting of this story is done with a masters hand, and the detail is inspiring. This would be a wonderful addition to the library and a different view point on the lifestyle of the three bears.
36 reviews
October 16, 2009
New experience! Almost everyone has heard the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, yet in reading I had a new experience with some particularly standard American literature characters. I enjoyed Spirin’s spin of the setting from its typical magic forest location into a Renaissance era. As I read the story I thought to myself, no wonder Goldilocks wanted to steal some porridge look at the size of their house!
There is a large amount of white space separating the text and the illustrations.
The illustrations do exhibit much of a lifelike or picturesque appearance as if they were taken by a picture.
I loved this book!
Profile Image for Deborah.
1,443 reviews8 followers
October 31, 2014
A simple version of the traditional fairy tale, Goldilocks and the three bears. Goldilocks is kind of creepy looking, but overall the illustrations are in keeping with Spirin's detailed folk art style. I also never imagined the bears to live in such a huge home! A note at the end of the story explains the origins of the Three Bears stories, originally starring an old woman as the intruder, at one point a fox, and then at the turn of the 20th century a light haired girl. Buy this one for the home library.

Profile Image for Cara.
1,683 reviews
May 21, 2016
It's the retelling of Goldilocks and Three Bears.
It's the classic version, the words are exactly as I remembered them with the except of the end. I didn't care for the pictures at all, thus the low rating. Why bother to make the bears look realistic if you're going to put them in clothes? Renaissance clothes at that and they look awful.
The simple 'bye' ending when Goldilocks runs out of the house was stupid. I don't remember what the real ending is, and if that is the ending, it's still dumb. I know I'd be pissed if I found some brat in my house, eating my food and breaking my furniture.
Profile Image for Matthew.
2,776 reviews44 followers
April 19, 2011
This was simply a retelling of the original fairy tale in the simplest of terms. The artwork was the real focus here. The detail in each page is basically unparalleled in almost any other children's book. It's almost like every page is a portrait deserving of a wall somewhere in a museum. Children might like staring at the detail I suppose. That's not my thing though. It was a fine book. Anyone in the market for a newer retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears ought to give it a try.
Profile Image for Sara.
564 reviews170 followers
December 1, 2014
Exceptional. Very few Spirin books are anything short of exceptional. The story line is more traditional and the illustration is exquisite. My favorite part of the book, however, is the historical information at the very end and the biographical information about Spirin. This is a book for every children's library.
51 reviews
September 12, 2012
Maybe it's just me, but the realistic claws and teeth on the bears was too much. Goldilocks's, too-human face was also disturbing. I did like the costumes and the flourishes around the text. I like the note about the story explaining the history of this very popular tale.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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