Friday, May 2, 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 2nd May 2014 - "Me and You" By Anthony Browne (Picture Corgi)


Me and You

Written and Illustrated by
Anthony Browne

Published by Picture Corgi

Goldilocks is one of Charlotte's favourite traditional stories. I think it's because Goldilocks is a bit of a subversive devil-may-care character who is a little naughty, and gets away with it too (depending on which version of the story you read).

When you hear that Anthony Browne has reworked the story and given it a poignant contemporary message, you sit up and take notice. Not just because Anthony Browne's artwork can sometimes carry some of his less impactive books, but because he is a writer who can truly deliver on a promise like that.

So Goldilocks in "Me and You" isn't really a character from the wrong side of the tracks, she's not really naughty either - Goldilocks here is a poor girl separated from her mother during a trip to town, whose curiosity leads her to the bear's house. The 3 bears in the story seem to have a privileged life, comfy surroundings, a house full of light and colour and plenty of food on the table. This is definitely not the impression you get about Goldilocks' home life at all.

The beauty of this book is that the story unfolds largely thanks to the reader. Your interpretation of what you're seeing, and your interpretation of what you're reading (and reading into Anthony Browne's subtle theme woven between the threads of the traditional story) is so utterly clever and thumbs the heartstrings rather beautifully. Not least of all when the story reaches a climax that wasn't in the original, but works absolutely perfectly.

This book is a few years old now but it so deserves a lot more attention. If you think you've read every single take there is on Goldilocks, make room for one more, this is superb.
Charlotte's best bit: The great 'reaction' when Goldilocks realises the three bears have come back home

Daddy's Favourite bit: One of the best retellings of Goldilocks, proving that Anthony Browne engages and works with the reader in such subtle and wonderful ways. An important book this, and it so deserved a lot more attention. Go find it in your library or pick up a copy if you can.

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