Reviews for Leola and the Honeybears : An African-American Retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 November 1999
Ages 3^-6. Although subtitled "An African-American retelling of Goldilocks," this does not seem to come from any authentic lore. The most apparent thing Rosales does is to make the heroine a black child and change the too-hot / too-cool porridge to pastry. There are some other cosmetic changes, but the basic Goldilocks tale remains the same. The text is not remarkable, though the striking, oversize paintings are. Leola is an adorable child, full of life, and her presence is neatly juxtaposed against the three bears and other nattily dressed animals that populate the tale. The pictures' mix of realistic style and fairy-tale characters works well. Fun to look at. ((Reviewed November 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
In this self-described ""African-American retelling,"" Leola is the trespasser--even though ""Grandmama said, 'Never go inside folks' houses until first being politely asked.'"" The Southern sensibility, expressions, and food (the Honeybears eat huckleberry tarts, not porridge) are refreshing, but the stiff, cramped illustrations, with their unrestricted palette, verge on garishness.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 September #2
Rosales spins the story of the three bears with African-American elements; Leola, in the Goldilocks role, runs off to do what she wants, in spite of her grandmother's warning not to go astray. She gets lost in the woods, is frightened by a weasel, and comes across the inn that the three bears run; they've left the place while some baked goods cool, and so the story line joins the original. Leola misbehaves, eating what she's not supposed to, sits even though she hasn't been invited, and is found by the three bears upon their return. They ask after her manners, which she admits she's ignored; her tears show her for the child she is, and the mother bear loads a basket and sends a contrite Leola home with an escort. The artwork is a curious combination of the overly observed and caricature. Leola is drawn with exacting realism, while the bears have the faces and demeanor of the stuffed toys won at a carnival. The story is just as stuffed, wordy beyond effect, and without personality; the cautionary elements are thoroughly diluted, and the only suspense in the encounter with the weasel quickly dissipates. (Picture book/folklore. 3-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 November #3
Rosales's (A Strawbeater's Thanksgiving) update of a nursery staple features an adventurous African-American girl and her doll. Leola wanders away from her Grandmama and into the Pine Hollow Woods, where she encounters wily Ol' Mister Weasel. Frightened by the meeting, she runs on, until she reaches the empty inn run by the three Honeybears. There Leola sets aside her Grandmama's teachings ("I know my Grandmama said, `Never help yourself in folks' kitchens until first being politely asked,' but I don't think she'd mind this time") and samples all manner of chairs, snacks and beds before being discovered by a surprised but kindly ursine family. She's then led safely home by a friendly blackbird. Unfortunately, the writing is often hackneyed ("When Leola got her way, she could be sweet as brown sugar. But when she didn't, she could be as stubborn as Grandmama's old mule"), and the representational paintings overdo the facial expressions. Ages 3-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 November
PreS-Gr 2-Leola lives with her grandmother near the Pine Hollow Woods, and when she "...got her way, she could be as sweet as brown sugar. But when she didn't, she could be as stubborn as Grandmama's old mule." Readers will empathize with the mischievous, saucy little girl who is brought to life in the sumptuous oil illustrations. In this retelling, Leola has been scared by Ol' Mister Weasel when she takes shelter at the Honeybears' inn, and, although her Grandmama has told her "Never to go into folks' houses...and never help yourself in folks' kitchens...and never, ever sit down and make yourself too comfortable until first being politely asked..." she rationalizes that no one will mind, just this once. Of course, the Honeybears do mind, but all is eventually forgiven, and Mama Honeybear sends Leola home with Miss Blackbird as a guide and a basket of goodies for her Grandmama. The format of this oversized book projects a country-folk look, with full-page illustrations bursting with color facing cream-and-yellow pinstriped pages of text with an occasional small oval scene. The story reads well and the whole endeavor radiates warmth and love. Leola is a memorable character and deserves to keep company with Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace and Patricia McKissack's Mirandy on library shelves.-Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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