If you think chicken pox is a thing of the past, think again. This year my eight-year-old son, who had been vaccinated for the illness, came down with a case of those itchy red spots. About that time, the book Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox arrived at our doorstep, and the timing couldn't have been better.
In this clever rhyming tale, Goldie Locks gets sick and is contacted by a slew of fairy tale characters: Henny Penny drops by to deliver her sky-shattering news, Jack Be Nimble wants to play and Little Bo Peep comes searching for her sheep.
Goldie Locks' most constant companion, however, is her little brother, who taunts her nonstop, wanting to connect the dots of her chicken pox and calling her an alien. He also turns green with envy at all the attention his sister is getting. Finally, Goldie Locks can stand it no longer and proclaims, "Make him stop . . . I can handle chicken pox! But how am I supposed to rest/when my brother's such a pest?"
Of course, her brother's coloring soon turns from green to red, as he comes down with his own case of chicken pox. After lusting after his sister's treats of sodas and ice cream, he definitely gets what he deserves.
Author Erin Dealey was inspired to write this delightful saga after her own daughter had the itchy illness. With a '50s retro look and characters who resemble the Campbell's Soup kids, Hanako Wakiyama's oil illustrations are terrific. Adults and kids alike will relish the many nostalgic details that fill Goldie's household, including a record player, a swizzle stick and French poodle wallpaper in the bathroom. Wakiyama's paintings are alive with energy—one can just imagine the pesky little brother whining and careening over every inch of the house. Dots are everywhere too—on Goldie Locks' clothes, bedspread, even the wallpaper.
My twin girls, nearing age three, adore this book. They were a bit confused, though, when I read them the original tale of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. The first thing they said was, "Goldie Locks doesn't have chicken pox!"
Alice Cary writes from Massachusetts. Copyright 2002 Bookpage Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
After Goldie Locks gets chicken pox, she canÃ†t play with her visitors, who include Henny Penny, Bo Peep, and Red Riding Hood. Meanwhile, itchy GoldieÃ†s attention-starved brother exploits her misery. The book lacks focus: neither the nursery-rhyme parody nor the sibling-rivalry story ultimately satisfies. But the satirical, 1950s-style illustrations cleverly straddle the line between the sweet and the grotesque. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2002 January #2
Goldie Locks has contracted chicken pox from an unknown source, although her mom asks Mrs. Bear if Baby Bear shows any signs of the disease. While she's at it, she also apologizes for the chair her daughter broke. Goldie's spots start out small in number and size, but are soon larger and more numerous. And of course they itch like mad. Henny Penny, Bo Peep, and Little Red Riding Hood all make appearances to distract Goldie. The doctor gives a clear-cut diagnosis and suggests a cool bath and lots of sweet treats, but he's a mouse so one might doubt his advice. Little Brother is even more bothersome than the spots and itch. Jealous of all the attention she's receiving, he tries to connect the dots on Goldie's face, makes fun of the way she looks, and is generally obnoxious. Of course, his turn comes too. Dealey has chosen to tell the story in verse, but the verse is amateurish, with too many awkward lines, at least one passage that is completely lacking rhythm and stocked with bland rhymes and several non-rhymes, like "dots/pox" and "six/itched." Straightforward, breezy prose might have served this slight tale better. Wakiyama's (Too Big, 1998, etc.) illustrations are much more successful. They are rendered brightly, in oil, with red the predominating color. The style might be described as 1950s kitsch. Little Brother looks particularly like the icon for an early fast-food chain. There are cowboy shirts, Formica tables, checkered-tile floors, record players, kidney-shaped coffee tables, and more. Great fun to look at, but the illustrations can't save the mediocre writing. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 January #3
In Dealey's debut, Goldilocks is a mid-century-modern girl, with her beige-blonde hair in pinch-tight braids and red barrettes. She mopes in bed or in her living-room Egg chair, sipping a cold drink and glumly surveying the pink "polka dots" on her rosy skin. Nursery characters like Little Red regret that Goldilocks can't "come to Gram's" with her, while others tell her not to scratch the spots: "`Leave them be,' agreed Bo Peep,/ Who happened by in search of sheep./ `That's sound advice for chicken pox./ It doesn't work for wayward flocks.' " Dealey's stilted rhymes hark back to the early years of the baby boom and "Dick and Jane" readers; Goldie endures the taunts of an unsympathetic little brother, while Father (dressed in a smoking jacket or dude-ranch shirt) maintains discipline. Wakiyama (Too Big!) likewise mimics 1950s picture books in her oversaturated color illustrations, printed on cream-yellow, faux-aged pages. Her work suggests the era of color separations, with fragile paper and opaque orange and turquoise inks. This fond look at old-fashioned fairy tales and family-sitcom dynamics injects wry touches (when Little Red comes by, a wolf peers in the window) that let readers in on the joke. Ages 3-6. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 March #4
According to PW, "This fond look at old-fashioned fairy tales and family-sitcom dynamics injects wry touches that let readers in on the joke." Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2002 February
PreS-Gr 1-Goldie Locks not only has lots of pink spots, but she also has a thoroughly pesky brother and many visitors, including Henny Penny, Bo Peep, and Jack Be Nimble. While her mouse doctor prescribes cool treats, cool baths, and patience, Little Brother suggests connecting the "dots," calls her a monster and an alien, and boldly boasts of his own immunity, causing poor Goldie to wail, "-how am I supposed to rest/when my brother's such a pest?" However, the obstreperous sibling suffers a fitting (if predictable) fate-some polka dots of his own. The oil illustrations have a decidedly retro feel with furniture, fashions, and fabric patterns of the 1950s. Observant viewers will have fun with the visual references to fairy-tale events. With four to eight lines of verse per page, the rhyming text sometimes strains-"pox" is variously paired with "spots," "squawked," "doc," etc. However, the pacing is lively and both mother and doctor offer sympathy and recommend tried-and-true remedies for this common childhood ailment. This combination of fairy-tale fantasy and domestic realism just might win a smile from young patients and from those adults who can appreciate the nostalgia.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.