One of the Three Little Pigs is hosting a housewarming, and Peter Rabbit would love to go. But he's in bed with a cold after a narrow escape from Mr. McGregor's garden. Meanwhile, Goldilocks is planning her birthday party and hoping her new friend Baby Bear can come (he's forgiven her for breaking his favorite chair). But with the Big Bad Wolf on the prowl and Little Red Riding Hood heading off to grandmother's house, there's no telling how things may end! This lively collection of letters written by famous storybook characters takes us behind the scenes in the land of make-believe.
Yours Truly, Goldilocks and Dear Peter Rabbit By Alma Flor Ada Illustrated by Leslie Tryon
About the Books
This inventive pair of picture books proves that it’s a small world, even for favorite storybook characters. Told entirely in letters written back and forth by such notables as Peter Rabbit, Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Pig One (of the Three Little Pigs)—as well as, unfortunately, two ravenous wolves—each book interweaves characters from four familiar tales to create an all-new adventure filled with wry surprises and delicious wit. “Children will be enchanted,” wrote School Library Journal in its starred review of Dear Peter Rabbit. “An inviting fairy-tale world,” Kirkus agreed, “with entrancing, delicately cross-hatched detail.”
• Be sure your students are familiar with the original tales that inspired Dear Peter Rabbit and Yours Truly, Goldilocks: The Three Little Pigs, Beatrix Potter’s Rabbit stories, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood. Try to share several versions of each story and encourage the children to identify and discuss differences. Do they have a favorite version? Why?
• What makes a good friend? Discuss the ways that these characters help each other out in times of trouble. Have your students ever helped a friend? Have they ever been helped by one? Encourage them to share their own experiences.
• Brainstorm about fanciful party guests. Ask your students to name favorite characters—from these books as well as others—that they would want to invite to their birthday party.
• Many of the storybook characters are confused by the term “housewarming.” Discuss what it means with your students. What do they think are appropriate gifts for a real life housewarming party?
• Baby Bear’s letter to Goldilocks in Dear Peter Rabbit makes it clear that he forgives her for breaking into his house. Explore what forgiveness means to your students. Have they ever asked to be forgiven for a mistake they made? Have they ever forgiven someone who made a mistake?
Activities and Research
• Send a letter to a storybook character. Ask your students to pick a favorite character from the books and write him or her a letter about themselves or draw a self-portrait. Encourage each child to be personal and specific.
• Both of these books slyly demonstrate how each character is linked to another. As a whole-class project, create a simple chart that shows how these characters are connected.
• Build your own storybook habitats. Ask your students to construct model versions of the hay, stick, and brick houses of the Three Little Pigs, Peter Rabbit’s burrow, or even Wolf’s fur-lined den.
• These storybook characters enjoy such treats as ice cream and cake, but what do real animals usually eat? Research the diet of bears, rabbits, wolves, and pigs.
• Celebrate reading with your own Hidden Forest party. Each child can come dressed as his or her favorite storybook character. Encourage them to try to stay in character throughout the party.
• Plan and grow your own vegetable garden. Goldilocks has cabbage, lettuce, and carrots growing in hers. Ask students what would grow best in your class garden.
• Several of these storybook characters are very good at writing thank you notes. Ask your students to try writing a thank you note—or drawing a thank you picture—for a gift they’ve received recently or a party they have attended.
• Introduce your class to other books created by this talented team. Alma Flor Ada is the author of such favorites as My Name is Isabel and The Gold Coin. Leslie Tryon is both an illustrator and a writer. She’s the creator of a very popular series about Albert, a hardworking duck.
• Yours Truly, Goldilocks ends with a hint that the character will be reunited at another gathering. Where will it be? Who will attend? Will a big bad wolf try to ruin the fun? Brainstorm with your students about the plot of a third adventure.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Alma Flor Ada, an authority on multicultural and bilingual education, is the recipient of the 2012 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and in 2014 she was honored by the Mexican government with the prestigious OHTLI Award. She is the author of numerous award-winning books for young readers, including Dancing Home with Gabriel Zubizarreta, My Name Is María Isabel, Under the Royal Palms (Pura Belpré Medal), Where the Flame Trees Bloom, and The Gold Coin (Christopher Award Medal). She lives in California, and you can visit her at AlmaFlorAda.com.
Leslie Tryon is the author of the Albert books and several others for young readers. She is also the illustrator of Alma Flor Ada's Dear Peter Rabbit and With Love, Little Red Hen. She lives in Carmel Valley, California.