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Greg Trine
Goldilocks Private Eye
Greg Trine, author
When her father dies, Goldilocks is left with nothing but her loyal cat Charlotte and a fledgling detective agency, which hasn’t turned a profit in years. Then again, her father wasn’t much of a detective…and even less of a businessman. Behind in the rent, with the landlady breathing down her neck and an over zealous orphanage director out to get her, Goldilocks knows that the only way to keep herself off the mean streets of Lick Skillet (and out of the orphanage) is to do what her father couldn’t—to make the agency a success. It’s not easy. How does she spread the word without getting snatched by Tom the Kid Snatcher, chief orphanage henchman…who works on commission! With more twists than San Francisco’s Lombard Street, GOLDILOCKS, PRIVATE EYE tells the tale of a girl desperate to make it on her own and her loyal cat who expects nothing less.
Trine (Melvin Beederman, Superhero) introduces readers to lovable and quick-witted detective Goldilocks in this amusing mix of fairy tale and mystery. After inheriting her father’s investigative business, Goldilocks is desperate to pay the rent owed on the office that was also their home. She also fears being caught by Tom the Kid-Snatcher, who takes children to the horrible orphanage. When her first customer, Frank Sims, asks her to help find his missing grandparents and figure out why bears are living in their home, Goldilocks leaps to take the case—even though the home she must investigate is in the nightmarish Black Forest. Fortunately she has her sidekick cat, Charlotte, and her new friend, orphanage escapee Patty Wagon Patty, to help her.

The characters, both good and evil, are perfectly written for tween readers. Charlotte is the ideal companion and gives Goldilocks someone to narrate her plans to. The new friends she makes, such as wise Patty, are fun and endearing. The questions of whether Goldilocks will prevail against the tough landlady and dodge the Kid-Snatcher add suspense that will keep young readers hooked but not scared. This isn’t a comedy, but the frequent dashes of dark humor keep the story from getting too intense. Unfortunately, Baykovska’s chapter-head sketches are bland, but the writing is vibrant enough to stand alone.

Putting a Nancy Drew twist on the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, Trine adds adventure, mystery, friends, and villains, telling an intriguing story of why Goldilocks was at the bears’ house and what happened after she ran away. Though Goldilocks faces real-life fears and troubles such as potential homelessness, losing a parent, stranger danger, and tales of giant spiders in the dark forest, the tone stays light, drawing readers into the new layers of an old story.

Takeaway: Older children will want to investigate right alongside this tough, smart, noir-influenced version of Goldilocks and her clever friends.

Great for fans of Great for fans of Liesl Shurtliff’s Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A