Review Blog

Jun 08 2010

Me and You by Anthony Browne

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Doubleday 2010. ISBN 9780385614894.
(All Ages from 7+) Highly recommended. Anthony Browne is an expert at creating multilayered picture books which offer an apparently superficial storyline, but with a much deeper message once readers dive below the surface. He's done it again with this retelling of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
The real power lies in the contrast between the blandly colourful illustrations of the smug bears and their large, modern detached house, and the brooding, monochrome pictures of Goldilocks's tough inner city existence.
Mummy and Daddy Bear are preoccupied with careers and possessions and sadly Baby Bear is well on his way to following in their footsteps. Goldilocks on the other hand, trudges past derelict buildings, graffiti, barred windows and barbed wire before stumbling across the pretty yellow house belonging to the bears. The story that follows plays out in the traditional way, but the ending is subtly different as, with hair flying, a terrified Goldilocks returns to the all encompassing loving arms of her Mum.
Pat Hutchins did it with Rosie's Walk in about fifty words and Anthony Browne has penned another classic in under 250 words, although of course the power and impact comes from the delicate balance between illustrations and text. This is a well timed story that comments on our obsession with money and the growing disparity between rich and the poor.
Lower juniors at my school follow a unit of work on fairy tales and they love the 'alternative' stories in this genre. There are plenty out there, humorous ones that focus on cunning little pigs duping an innocent wolf or Cinderella as a feisty princess who shuns the boring prince. Me and You is a more serious interpretation of the traditional fairy tale and I can't wait to share it with the children.
Claire Larson

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