This week we started a mini-unit on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We’re reading as many versions of the story as we can and making our own storyboard and stick puppets to practice retelling. Our student led conferences are at the end of the month and each child retelling Goldilocks to their parents is the pièce de résistance of the day.

I did this last year and read many, many versions of the classic tale, but one I missed was Dusty Locks and the Three Bears by Susan Lowell with illustrations by Randy Cecil. Mrs. D. offered it up to me to read (we always do two read alouds and share them) with, “Can you do a southern accent?”

“Sure!” I replied, figuring I’d wing it.

Well let me tell you, if you haven’t ever read Dusty Locks, stop what you’re doing, run, don’t walk, to buy it, and READ IT to your class or children at home. This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book aloud in a very long time… this from a guy who reads many books aloud daily. It was downright hilarious.

The story stays relatively close to the original, with plates of beans standing in for the porridge and lots of fiddles and cowboy boots and hats.

Dusty Locks entrance (please imagine my best southern drawl):

A cloud of smoke?
A swarm of mosquitoes?
No sirree! It was a dirty little girl.
She hadn’t had a bath for a month of Sundays, so everybody called her Dusty Locks. But Trouble was her middle name. That little outlaw had run away from home without stopping to kiss her mother good-bye!

Really? I have to give the author credit, the writing is laugh out loud funny.

Upon seeing the plates of beans, Dusty Locks cries, “Ya-hoo! I’m so hungry I could eat a saddle blanket.”

When Papa Bear sees someone’s been eating his beans, he growls (in a deep southern accent), “SOMEONE’S BEEN EATIN’ MY BEANS!”

In case you haven’t guessed yet, I had a ton of fun reading this book… as did all my sprouts. The illustrations go perfectly with the text and it just injected a burst of laughter and joy into our day. Don’t be shy, invite Dusty Locks into your heart and let her rustle up some trouble.