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Dusty Locks and the Three Bears

Press:Henry Holt & Co Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (May 1, 2001)
Author Name:Lowell, Susan/ Cecil, Randy (ILT)


A wild and funny Southwestern Goldilocks.Way out West live three bears who like to keep their cabin neat and tidy. 
But one day while they're out for a walk, a dirty little girl named Dusty Locks barges in and helps herself to their supper of beans.
The big bear's beans are so full of chile peppers that she burns her mouth.
The middle bear's beans don't even have any salt.
But the bear cub's beans are just right, so Dusty Locks gobbles them all up.
When the bears come home to find their nice, neat house looking like it's been hit by a whirlwind, they get riled -- and Dusty Locks runs home so fast the dust doesn't settle for a week.The talented team that created Little Red Cowboy Hat works its hilarious magic again in this lively western retelling of Goldilocks.

From Publishers Weekly

Right from the start, readers can tell that this cowboy boot-wearing heroine is a wild'un. 
Even on the copyright page, she kicks up a huge trail of dust as she determinedly chases a skunk into the woods.
Dusty Locks "hadn't had a bath for a month of Sundays" and runs away from home without stopping to kiss her mother good-bye.
So it comes as no surprise that this spunky gal hardly minds her manners while breaking into and entering the log cabin of the bear family (consisting of a "little bitty bear cub, just knee-high to a bumblebee,...
a mild-mannered middle-size mama...
and a great big humpbacked gray-haired grizzly, nine feet tall and cross as two sticks").
While the trio takes a walk to let their red-hot beans cool, she tastes the papa grizzly's too-tangy food, burps after licking the young bear's plate clean and gets "madder than a half-squashed hornet" when the cub's stool falls apart under her weight.
Cecil's acrylic gouache illustrations add western flourishes to the setting and costumes, and depict an amusing range of expressions on the faces of the trespasser and her victims.
With its zippy lines and range of voices from papa's "rough gruff" growling to his offspring's "little bitty baby voice" this should be a read-aloud hit.
The creators of Little Red Cowboy Hat add ample doses of comic hyperbole to pull off another spicy spoof.
Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-A humorous and fresh retelling of "Goldilocks and the  Three Bears" set in the West. 
The bears live in "a neat and tidy cabin in the woods" and wear cowboy boots, leather vests, and neckerchiefs.
When they leave for a morning walk, Dusty Locks, a little girl who "hadn't had a bath for a month of Sundays," arrives at their home.
She is so hungry she "could eat a saddle blanket." She tries the big grizzly's beans, but the beans, "chock-full of chile peppers," are "Too hot!" Mama's beans are too plain.
And so on.
When the bears return and find her asleep in the cub's bed, the big bear growls, "WELL, I'LL BE BUMFUZZLED!" Dusty Locks wakes and vamooses so fast, "the dust didn't settle for a week." Her mother gets ahold of her and scolds, scrubs, rubs, hugs, and kisses her "into a whole new girl entirely." The acrylic gouache illustrations have a cartoonlike quality that contributes to the humorous tone, especially the portrayal of Dusty as a small desperado entering the warm, tight bear family unit.
This retelling is not substantially different from the original story, and libraries with adequate collections of the standard version can pass on it.Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St.
Paul, MN Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 3-6. 
Set "way out West," this lively retelling is true to the traditional Goldilocks story, except that the adventurer is a mean, dirty runaway who enjoys the bear cub's beans so much that "she gobbled them all up, licked the saucer clean, and burped." When she breaks the bear cub's stool, she stomps upstairs, she's madder than a half-squashed hornet.
The bear family are true to form, and their ritual, "Who's been sitting on my chair?" is as deliciously scary and funny as ever.
The western storytelling voice combines the laid-back tall tale with warm affection, making clear that it's that "heavy little roughneck" who invades the bears' cozy home.
Cecil's bright acrylic gouache pictures extend the rhythm of the words with a rugged western landscape; a messy, scowling girl; and three bears in cowboy boots, including a great, roaring father bear.
Kids will enjoy the play with the original version, but this will also work wonderfully as a first telling of the folktale.
Forget that sweet, goody, little golden girl.
Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

About the Author

Susan Lowell comes from a long line of ranchers. 
She spends part of her time on a small ranch in the desert and the rest of her time in Tucson, Arizona.
She is the author of several best-selling books for children, including Little Red Cowboy Hat and The Three Little Javelinas.Randy Cecill is the illustrator of Little Red Cowboy Hat, as well as The Singing Chick by Victoria Stenmark.
He lives in Houston, Texas.


Children's Books,Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:18)

  •     This is a wonderful redo to the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Here we have a western flavor thrown in and our heroine is a grubby little girl with really bad manners. The whole twist on the story is an absolute hoot, right down to the author's syntax. The illustrations are absolutely great and go with the story perfectly. I have read this story to second, third and forth graders and they all loved it. I must admit to this being one of my favorites and I usually don't like it when someone misses with a classic. In this case the author and illustrator were able to pull it off. I actually think this one might be better than the first. At the very least, kids can relate to it better. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.

  •     OK book, grandchildren may like it. Not enough of a story. Some cute illustrations.

  •     I love the illustrations and the dialogue in this little story. This is a great read for kids ages 4-8

  •     I am developing a unit of fairy tales and additional versions to teach point of view among other literary devices.

  •     I have been collecting fairy tale spoofs for years and when I saw this book I just had to have it.

  •     Dusty Locks was a big hit with the 2nd graders I volunteer with. They had read three different versions previously but thiswas the most unusual and funny.

  •     One of the five year olds in my Pre K class gave me a standing ovation after I read this and the rest of the class listened intently. Fun to read and fun to hear! A must have.

  •     Students loved this version

  •     Cute story

  •     The children ask for it by name in my class all the time. Nice story, with a nice little twist to go with it

  •     I love reading the original and then doing a "fractured" fairy tale. Then we do a compare and contrast. Super fun to do with literature with primary grades.

  •     It stands to reason that if you're going to redo the classic story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" then you need some kind of a hook. First of all, the story's a classic lesson in rudeness. Goldilocks is rude rude rude. So why not go a step further? Why not make her rude AND stinky? Better yet, rude, stinky, AND mean to her mama? And if you're going to do all that, you'd best be changing her name as well. Goldilocks? Heck no. This child is now Dusty Locks. Now place this entire story in the West, somewhere around Colorado maybe, and you've got yourself one heckuva story. Author Susan Lowell and illustrator Randy Cecil have come together to tell a version of Goldilocks that surpasses the original. You want to tell the story of the three bears but do it in a fun way that kids are sure to love? "Dusty Locks" has your number.Now what kind of bears live out west? Grizzly bears, that's who. So three cowboy boot wearing, vest doffing, huge belt buckle sporting bears one day go for a walk. While they do so, the nefarious Dusty Locks, outfitted in grass-stained overalls and oversized boots of her own, breaks into their home. After all, "those grizzlies were fine, upstanding, law-abiding critters, honest as the day is long, and they never locked their door". More fool they, for Dusty begins to meticulously tear apart their little home. First she devours their beans. I liked the detail that the great big grizzly bear liked his beans, "chock-full of chile peppers". Then she pounds their chairs into smithereens. Finally, she proceeds to find somewhere to sleep and rest her weary rotten little head. The bears return, discover the destruction in full, and wake the stinky gal up. After she flees home her mother loves her into an entirely new little girl and the bears never saw her again, "or if they did... they never recognized her".Much like fellow drawl-infused picture book, "Swamp Angel" by Anne Isaacs, this book is a pleasure to read aloud. From the gruff big bear to the squeaky little bear to the southern ladylike mama bear, you can get a lot of mileage from this puppy. Couple that with Randy Cecil's inventive illustrations and you've got yourself a magnificent storytime tale. Cecil's pictures seem cartoony and none too inventive at first. But then you start noticing little details here and there. For example, why do the three bears have three chairs to sit on? To play their instruments and sing at night, of course. How does Dusty Locks stumble on their abode? She (evil child that she is) chases a skunk there. A skunk, I might add, that pops up more than once throughout this story. So with funny pictures and a one-of-a-kind narrative voice this book's a surefire winner with any childlike crew. Consider it recommended tenfold, and then some.

  •     This is a great twist on the classic story. My 7 year old absolutely loved it and I really enjoyed reading it as well. I also coach a middle school forensics team in which students compete in events such as such as storytelling. This would also be good for events such as that. It is very well written for a kids book, has fun and unique characters, quirky, and just fun to read!

  •     You all know the story. Three bears go out for a walk while their food cools. A little girl arrives and makes herself at home, finally falling asleep. The bears come home, find her and frightened, she runs all the way home. Susan Lowell doesn't veer far from this familiar old storyline, but she adds some spice, zip and western flair to make it special. Dusty Locks hasn't had a bath "for a month of Sundays", is pretty fragrant from chasing skunks and is a no-good little outlaw who's run away from home without even kissing her mother goodbye. She literally blows onto the scene in a cloud of dust and does her best to wreak havoc on the bear's little house. And when she's finally discovered and heads back home so fast "the dust didn't settle for a week", her mother is waiting for that "dirty little desperado" with some big surprises of her own..... Ms Lowell's vivid character descriptions and clever text, full of witty, wild west, laugh out loud language makes this a wonderful read-aloud story and Randy Cecil's charming and humorous artwork just adds to the fun. Together, they've taken an oldie but goodie of a story and made it even better. Perfect for youngsters 4-8, Dusty Locks And The Three Bears is a winner and a book kids will want to read again and again.

  •     This book was an ok version of the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, but the little girl had such a bad attitude that I didn't read it to my 8 year old and didn't even want to give it away because of that.

  •     I am an elementary art teacher and I checked out this book from my school library to read to my 3rd grade classes before they started work on fairy tale puppets. We all loved it! So I brought it home for my husband and my infant son. My 10 month old sat through the book with out a peep -except for giggles- over and over again. So we bought it for my husband for father's day. I am ordering more books by this author right away. It is just so fun to read it with a southern drawl and do all those crazy bear voices! I also love the illustrations. The characters have great facial expressions! I LOVE THIS BOOK! BUY IT RIGHT AWAY!

  •     Um, it's ok. No rave reviews here. But IF you really like to read different fairy tale version, then I guess it's worth reading. Maybe kindle version would be more worth the money. I'll probably give this book away. Not really good enough to keep and read more than once. And I love a good fairy tale twist version! So I guess I'm a bit disappointed...

  •     Grandkids love this story! I will purchase other Susan Lowell books to read to them in the future.


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