10in x 7in
4 to 8
"In this delightfully illustrated wordless picture book, Alexander offers a charming depiction of family and a twist on the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Two adult bears and their cub are leaving their city row house for a bike ride. Meanwhile, a school bus arrives, and a girl disembarks, enters the home, and—after shedding her backpack, hat, jacket, and shoes—starts cooking. Upon returning, the bears discover a bit of a mess, an enticing aroma, and the girl just
waking from a nap. In a sweet turn, the foursome then enjoy a meal together and, later, all snuggle up for a nap. Intricately detailed black, white, and grayscale illustrations incorporate
pops of golden yellow in the bears’ scarves, the girl’s clothing, and their Victorian-style home’s exterior. The mutual affection of the expressive bears and girl—here with dark skin tone and curly, short hair—is shown in playful, touching ways, and their many displayed photos reveal that the girl is a part of the family. Though those familiar with the story will catch more of the allusions, this take offers an engaging celebration of what it means to be family."
"As in Red, Alexander offers a sophisticated wordless reimagining, this time of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Three bears in yellow scarves leave their yellow Victorian row house to go cycling. Later, a yellow-clad, Black-presenting child steps off a school bus of the same hue and walks through a b&w neighborhood to the bears’ house. After the child lets themself in, the story unspools into scenes of enveloping coziness: the protagonist concocts a golden soup standing on a kitchen chair and naps on the large sofa, feet perched on the arm. As the bears arrive back home, page turns build to a closing image that reveals the truth behind the pops of yellow uniting the characters throughout: the child and bears are a blended family. Alexander’s illustrations charm with their precisely rendered details—the soft shag of fur, the tilted noses alert to delicious smells, the crumbs and soup-spattered bowls that signal a meal deeply enjoyed—in this quiet retelling. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)"
— Publishers Weekly
"With Red, Jed Alexander presented his first inverted fairy tale: a wolf tries to head off a red-cloaked girl as she walks through the woods, à la "Little Red Riding Hood," although it's really just a ruse to stop her from spoiling a surprise party in her honor. In Red's likewise wordless follow-up, Gold, it's "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" that gets reworked, and the big reveal is both a gotcha and a consciousness-raiser.
Gold begins with a bear family of three leaving their townhouse and setting off on their bikes. On the next page, a Black girl gets off a school bus. She walks to and enters the house, drops her belongings on the floor and proceeds to the kitchen, where she starts cooking something that could pass for porridge. The bears return to find the girl's things on the floor, and readers will tense for a confrontation. But what's this? The bears' faces betray delight at the aroma of food and the sight of the girl napping on the couch: turns out she's a member of their family.
Once again, Alexander limits his palette to black and white plus the odd accent color, in this case gold, which shades the bears' scarves, the girl's coat and so on--but not, it should be noted, her hair. The restricted palette serves Gold's message well. The concluding spread shows the loving family of four in a sleeping heap on the couch, the gold in the girl's clothing the only difference in color."
—Shelf Awareness (Nell Beram)
2023 White Raven Book
By Jed Alexander
Who belongs and who doesn't?
Do members of the same family all look the same? This wordless picture book plays with our assumptions about family. Is the little girl making food an uninvited guest, taking advantage of the bear family's open door? Or is she someone else entirely? Enjoy a cozy evening with the sweetest family you'll find between the pages of a book.
"Assumptions are challenged in this wordless, fairy tale–like story.
In a modern-looking city where anthropomorphic animals and humans coexist, a young Black child exits a golden-hued school bus in a golden-hued outfit before walking to a golden-hued home in an otherwise colorless world. Once inside, the golden child makes themself at home, dropping their backpack, hat, scarf, and shoes aimlessly on the way to the kitchen—via the dining room to grab a chair—and starts cooking porridge. As the child takes the porridge to the table, a trio of bears in matching gold scarves cycle home. At this point, readers may think they know this story based on the visual cues. But Alexander zigs when he could have zagged, and readers soon learn that the little human protagonist is the fourth member of a loving blended family. Educators will enjoy sharing this book with children and challenging them to question their biases and assumptions. (Some educators and caregivers may have their own assumptions challenged, too!) It’s a clever and unexpected twist on a fairly (fairy?) well-known tale, and it’s one that belongs on every bookshelf. The illustrations, which have a hand-drawn feel, perform the hat trick of all hat tricks, making the story feel simultaneously classic and contemporary. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
Pure gold—welcome this one into your family! (Picture book. 4-6)"
— Starred Review, Kirkus
"A spin on Goldilocks, this wordless picture book challenges assumptions about what makes a family. A trio of bears leaves their townhome for a bike ride; while they are out, a girl enters and begins to make a meal—and a mess. When the bears return, they find their messy house guest asleep on the sofa, but is she really a guest at all? The black-and-white scenes are punctuated with gold to subtly direct the audience’s attention in this evocative take on the classic."
— Forword Reviews
"This is actually a book that I’m so excited about that I don’t really even want to talk about it today. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but at the same time I can’t really help it. This is such a gorgeous bit of wordless storytelling that it deserves to be seen widely. If it looks familiar, you may remember that author/illustrator Jed Alexander did a similarly reimagined picture book fairy tale with Red. This book is even better. Set in San Francisco, Alexander wields the color yellow with the greatest of care. Here’s what I wrote to myself about the book:
“Three bears set out on their bikes while a little girl in yellow beelines for their house. In this wordless play on the Goldilocks fable, prepare to have expectations of all sorts upset by a story that redefines what a family can be. Also prepare to be utterly charmed or, at the very least, subtly impressed. We see a lot of books that are skewed takes on Goldilocks (this very year we’ve already seen Bee Waeland’s The Three Bears and Goldilocks) and you kind of get a little sick of them after a while. This book upsets not simply storytime expectations but cultural expectations about who can and cannot be a family. I was pretty much immediately taken in by the San Franciscan setting and the fact that the bears’ bike helmets are so ridiculously small on their huge heads. Then you get to the beautiful use of the color yellow throughout. And of course the mess Goldilocks makes could be attributed to a child trying to “help”. Completely, utterly, wonderful (and wordless!)."
— School Library Journal
"The original “Goldilocks” is a story about a girl who breaks and enters. She eats porridge that isn’t meant for her, sleeps in beds not made for her, and sits in chairs no one asked her to sit in, and then she complains. Jed Alexander’s Gold (Creston Books, 32 pp., $18.99, ages 5 to 9) is a wordless reimagining of “Goldilocks,” where Gold is not a trespasser, but the shiniest center of a family’s heart. The moral of the original “Goldilocks” is to respect the property and privacy of others; the moral here is that otherness is an internalized condition that paves the way for a plot twist. The black line drawings, illuminated by the amber light cast across this rewritten fairy tale’s pages, are as breathtaking as they are hopeful. Alexander has turned the key on Goldilocks, unlocked her, and turned her into Gold."
— The New York Times