About the Holiday
Today’s holiday celebrates the history and origins of porridge, a food enjoyed around the world and Scotland’s national dish. Since 1996 the Scottish Highland Village of Carrbridge has hosted the World Porridge Making Championship, where culinary types from around the globe compete for the Golden Spurtle trophy and the honor of being named “World Porridge Making Champion.” In 2009 the championship event joined with Mary’s Meals, a charity based in Argyll Scotland that provides nutritional aid to children in developing countries. To celebrate today, why not mix up a batch of warm, delicious porridge. However you make it, a bowlful is just right!
Goldilocks and Just One Bear
By Leigh Hodgkinson
“Once upon a time there was this bear. One minute, he was strolling in the woods, all happy-go-lucky….The next minute, he didn’t have a crumb-of-a-clue where he was.” Somehow he, along with his tightly gripped spoon, had found his way to the big city. The bear didn’t like it: the lights were too bright, the streets were too noisy, and the bear’s legs had become too wobbly. He looked around at the “Wolf’s Clothing Boutique,” the “Three Little Piggies’ Bank, the “Gingerbread” stand, the “Glass Slippers” shoe store, and “The Ugly Sisters’ Beauty Parlor and decided to get away from it all. He took the elevator to the top floor of Snooty Towers, where he found a quiet place for a rest.
After “all that whooshy traveling,” the bear found that he was a mite hungry—hungry for porridge. He grabbed the first bowl he saw. “THIS porridge is too soggy,” he decided, slurping the water from the fish bowl. On the floor he found another bowl. “THIS porridge is too crunchy,” he said, spooning up a few cat nibbles. Next he tried the contents of a plate. “THIS porridge is a bit on the DRY side, but it’s better than nothing,” reasoned the bear.
Nice and full, the bear went in search of a place to rest. He sat on something too “ouchy,” something too “noisy,” and something that exploded in a million Styrofoam beads but was “just right.” The short respite was nice, but not enough for such a tired bear. He sought out a place to take a proper nap. The bathtub was “too frothy”; the fancy bed was “too pink”; but the bed with the leaf-print comforter was “just right.”
While he slept the bear dreamed of his cozy house in the woods until he was unceremoniously wakened by a very, very loud “‘SOMEBODY has been eating from my fishbowl!’”; a very loud “‘Somebody has been eating my dear little Pumpkin’s kitty nibbles!’”; and a not-as-loud, but just-as-disturbing “‘And somebody has been eating my toast. And they’ve eaten it all up!’”
The bear hid under the covers as the “daddy person” discovered his squished cactus, the “mommy person” comforted the cat, and the “little person” joyfully tossed Styrofoam peanuts in the air. It was only a matter of time before the daddy person laid eyes on the splashed about tub, the mommy person found her messy bed, and the little person pointed out the bear sleeping in her bed right that minute.
The bear took a look at the mommy person and thought she looked “slightly familiar.” At the same time the mommy person thought that three strikes in one house rang a bell. “‘Baby Bear?’” the mommy said. “‘Goldilocks?’” the bear gasped. Really, the reunion had been too long in coming! Goldilocks cooked up a big batch of porridge and the bear gobbled it down, because…well…you know! While the bear was glad to see that Goldilocks was “living so happily ever after,” he was just as glad to return home to the woods.
Leigh Hodgkinson’s tale of Little Bear all grown up is a hilarious turn-about-is-fair-play take on the original Goldilocks story. The bear, out of his depth in the big city, makes a sweet and sympathetic character even as kids laugh at his misguided experiments in Goldilocks’ penthouse apartment. Hodgkinson’s story is full of wonderful, expressive language set off in animated type that enhances the look of the stylish pages.
Hodgkinson’s vibrant and airy mixed-media illustrations are visually stimulating—alive with the glitz and glamour of the city—and underscore the woodsy bear’s apprehension in his new surroundings. The signs and billboards along the busy thoroughfare allow Hodgkinson to include nods towards other favorite fairy tales, and the prints hanging on the wall of the Snooty Towers apartment hint at the identification of its owner.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear is a fun and funny fractured fairy tale, and one that kids will ask to have read over and over.
Ages 3 – 8
Nosy Crow Books, 2012 | ISBN 978-0763661724
Discover more about Leigh Hodgkinson and her books on her website Wonky Button!
World Porridge Day Activity
It’s Just Right! Maze
Sometimes a bear—or a person—will go to any lengths for a bowl of porridge. Can you find your way through this printable bear-shaped It’s Just Right Maze?
Picture Book Review