by Jan Brett
Originally published in 1837 by Robert Southey as the story of the three bears, today's Goldilocks and the Three Bears actually has its roots in oral English folklore. In the original folk tale, Goldilocks was an old woman and in some versions a fox. In 1850, English writer Joseph Caudall changed the old woman to a little girl with silver hair. Around 1870, the story appeared in several versions and the child's hair was being shown as gold. The name Goldilocks was finally used in 1904 in Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes and has stuck ever since.
We have chosen to feature Jan Brett's lavishly illustrated version to highlight the old world influenced artwork and its connection to the country of the story's origin. Absolutely enjoy reading the story with your young reader, but also take the time to sit and pore over the detailed illustrations and discover the activities going on beyond the words of the book.
In this Issue
What exactly is porridge? Despite my initial mental image, it is actually oatmeal or or another grain boiled in milk or water! Not so scary after all!
While this dish can be made with regular rolled oats (just stir the berries, honey and almonds into cooked oatmeal for 4), our particular recipe uses steel cut oats for a nutty, creamy texture. Once prepared, this dish keeps well in the fridge. Make ahead for a heat-and-serve breakfast, or a snack any time of day!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears' Porridge
Recipe adapted from How to Cook Steel Cut Oats in 30 Minutes.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 1/2 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup almonds
- If using frozen berries, you can set them out on the counter while the oatmeal cooks. Once the porridge has cooked, they should be just thawed enough to chop before stirring into the warm oatmeal.
- Combine milk and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat (watch carefully so the milk doesn't boil over!). Pour in steel cut oats and return to a boil. This should take only a few seconds. Again, watch carefully- the liquid might foam up and threaten to boil over.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low so that the mixture barely simmers. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until oats are tender and the oatmeal is thick and creamy.
- If berries are large, cut them into manageable pieces. Chop almonds. Stir berries, honey, and almonds into warm oatmeal. If necessary, return pan to low heat until oatmeal is desired temperature.
When parents hear 'paper mache' they are easily overwhelmed, but the process and the supplies are really quite simple. With nothing more than flour, water, and strips of paper, kids can create any number of fun projects.
Making a bowl seems like the perfect project to bring the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears alive. Once the craft is completed, young readers can use the bowls for imaginary play and mix up their own bowl of porridge. Enthusiastic young readers can make three bowls, one for each of the three bears.
Three Bears' Porridge Paper Mache Bowls
- Plastic bowl for the mold - we used a French onion dip bowl from the recycling bin
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber band
- Paper strips torn from newspapers, magazine pages, or brown kraft paper
- 1/4 flour
- 1/2 cup water
- Choose your mold. Tear off a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the mold and secure with plastic wrap.
- Tear paper into strips - random sizes are okay.
- Mix flour and water in a small bowl. We used 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, but any mixture of 1 part flour to 2 parts water will work.
- Dip one strip of paper at a time into the flour mixture. Squeegee strip between your fingers to remove excess glue. Place strip on mold. Repeat with more strips until there are several layers covering the mold. We used several layers to make the bowl sturdier for imaginary play.
- Let dry overnight.
- Remove mold and peel off plastic wrap. Decorate with paint and other art materials.
More from Off the Shelf
More Jan Brett
- Bear Has A Story to Tell
- Bear Says Thanks
- Big Bear's Big Boat
- Blueberries for Sal
- Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep
- The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
- Otto the Book Bear
- The Valentine Bears
- We're Going on a Bear Hunt
- Winnie the Pooh
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