Goldilocks: Wanted dead or alive by Chris Colfer

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Goldilocks in this graphic novel is a tough, outlaw living in the western part of the fairy tale world, the Dwarf Forests, where criminals and outcasts can live freely. The reader learns this in a page of dense text with a simple map at the start of the book. This is followed by ‘Prologue - The Brothers Charming” with a convoluted discussion between the 3 brothers about fulfilling their father’s ambition to rule all the kingdoms of their world by driving out the people of the Dwarf Forests and claiming the territory. They trick their wives into giving them the power to invade the territory. Chapter 1 finds four well-armed men hunting the legendary Goldilocks in the Dwarf Forests, they are defeated easily by Goldilocks and her horse with lots of violent action and supernatural power. Chapter 4, distinguished by a black background, takes us back twelve years to Goldilocks’ back story which involves porridge and bears, betrayal and finding help where she least expects it. Back to the present day, Goldilocks is asked to help save the Dwarf Forests and she, with a rag tag band of outcasts including wolves, witches and other fairy tale characters set out to defeat the armies of the Charming brothers. The story is fast paced and a quick read which will be popular with readers already familiar with The Land of Stories series by this author but the characters here seemed one dimensional. The queens appear weak and easily influenced and their change of heart at the end was unconvincing. Their images, and that of others, owe a lot to Disney animations and the limited range of expressions on faces and mostly fixed point of view failed to add much to the story. A more exciting graphic reimagining of a classic story in a similar style would be Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Themes: fantasy, adventure.

Sue Speck