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It’s strange to think that Nursery Rhymes prove so difficult to round-up. I’ve done my best. After all, the art of the nursery rhyme is nothing to scoff at. There’s a reason they’ve kicked around all these centuries. Reading nursery rhymes to small children does wonders for brain development, to say nothing of the fact that they remain a cultural touchstone in our society. Here then is a bit of a mix. Some of these books play with the nursery rhyme format or redefine it. Others play it straight. I have no doubt, you’ll find something to love somewhere on this list.
2016 Nursery Rhymes
La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Ninos by Susan Middleton Elya, ill. Jana Martinez-Neal
Now my kids are full-throated lovers of Elya’s book Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos, which may well be regarded as one of the best firefighter books in the pantheon of firefighter picture book literature’s history. In that book Elya effortlessly worked Spanish into the English text. She does a fair amount of that here as well and it lends itself to lovely, bouncy rhythms and some great art. I’m a fan.
Maybe Mother Goose by Esme Raji Codell, ill. Elisa Chavarri
A book with true readaloud potential, particularly to big groups. It contains six nursery rhymes and then asks questions of the audience, allowing them the chance to say, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” in loud voices. Any book that does that has my instant love.
My Very First Mother Goose by Rosemary Wells
I’m slipping some reprints in here as well AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME!!! This is actually the 20th anniversary reprint of the Wells classic, and I’m all for it. This wouldn’t be a worthy nursery rhyme list without at least one true all-encompassing collection, after all.
Miss Muffet, Or What Came After by Marilyn Singer, ill. David Litchfield
A truly ambitious outing. Singer’s book is told in rhyme but is truly meant to be read or performed or read to older kids. She slips a great many nursery rhyme characters into the tale, which is interesting because some of them are a bit lesser known. For example, the poem Cock-a-Doodle-Doo! plays an important role.
One, Two, Three Mother Goose by Iona Opie, ill. Rosemary Wells
Another Rosemary Wells, this time in service to the great Iona Opie. This book is in a board book format, and in my own personal experience I found some of the poems to work better than others with very young kids. That said, isn’t that always the case with good nursery rhymes?
The People of the Town: Nursery-Rhyme Friends for You and Me by Alan Marks
This would be the second book on this list that actually contains straight nursery rhymes. Twenty-six of them, to be precise. Interestingly they are all people-centric in this collection. An interesting choice.
Sing With Me! Action Songs Every Child Should Know by Naoko Stoop
Okay, true, these are action rhymes and not nursery rhymes per se. But since the number of action rhyme books for kids released in a given year is even less than that of nursery rhymes, I’m going to let it slide on in. After all, it received stellar professional reviews and is just really cool to look at.
Interested in the other upcoming lists of this month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:
Have you watched Adventure Time? Maybe you have seen the comic or the graphic novel or some of the merchandise. It's a phenomenon, not least because of the age range it seems to appeal to. It is a show on the Cartoon Network, which the network claims tops its ratings and is watched by 2 million 2–11 year old boys – but I know many older kids, including students, who watch it avidly too.
When I first saw it I must admit I was surprised that something as violent, surreal and bizarre – and sometimes with such horrific and sexual content – was being aired for young children. It has a PG rating but that does nothing to keep it from young children's impressionable brains.
I think it's brilliant (but then I have a degree in Dada and Surrealism), and its freshness is perhaps partly because it's not written in the conventional sense (by a writer or writer team) but produced by artists using storyboards that are then developed by a team, even going so far as deliberately to employ surrealist techniques such as the Exquisite Corpse game in order to come up with ideas. It's also hand-drawn, each 11 minute episode taking 8–9 months to make.
Now: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" This was the line that introduced the American radio show The Shadow in the 1930s (it later became a film, comic book series, etc etc). One answer is (besides the eponymous detective) – that children do. Children are far more preoccupied with questions about what adults call the dark side of human nature than many adults give them credit for. The best children's writers know this.
Adventure Time is therefore in the same ballpark as Where the Wild Things Are...
... and the darkest of nursery rhymes and fairy stories....
... the kind that were explored by Angela Carter in her novels about growing up such as the Magic Toyshop and the Company of Wolves...
...stories where grandmothers turning to carnivorous beasts, the bedroom is populated by monsters, and the house next door contains versions of your own parents but with buttons for eyes (thanks, Neil)...
There is a genuine sense of beauty, spirituality and awe in many of Adventure Time's episodes or scenes, that is also shared by children who are viewing the world for the first time. It's as if the creators have been able to access their own infantile selves to identify with the way that children see the world.
My reference to The Shadow was chosen for another reason: the parts of the personality satisfied in its fans by Adventure Time and these other stories can be seen as parts of the 'shadow self', as described by the poet Robert Bly in his A Little Book on the Human Shadow. The Jungian theory of the human shadow, itself part-derived from myths and old stories, is that babies and young children have what Bly calls a 360° personality. But much of this compass of human potential is socialised out of their behaviour during their upbringing. By the time they are around 20 years old just a slice remains. This is the socialised personality that becomes fixed as an adult. The remaining portion is buried – the shadow – but it emerges in odd ways: our obsessions, the imaginary traits we project onto situations and other people, particularly our partners, the things we are frightened of, particularly in ourselves. Bly says that after the age of 40 or so – the age of the midlife crisis – adults often start to unpack their shadow. Their reaction to this process determines the rest of the course of their lives. The shadow is not bad, nor evil. Those are labels that adults put onto things. The shadow contains just what was suppressed, punished or ignored during the socialisation or upbringing process, and depends on the values held by the parents and the culture they belong too. And this, I think, is why Adventure Time appeals to young adults as well as children. Young adults are struggling with those aspects of themselves which adults want to repress. In young adults there is a sense of nostalgia for their childhood self, that remains as a fading echo before the responsibilities of adulthood unkindly snuff it out altogether and they forget forever what being a child is like. They know this is going to happen, they regret it and they try to cling on to its last vestiges as long as possible. The shadow is important, vital, necessary, and it is dangerous to repress it or ignore it. The makers of Adventure Time, and the Cartoon Network that commissions it, cannot be unaware of this. It is a liminal gate to the subconscious, the place where creativity thrives. If I seem to be making rather grand claims for what is after all a children's cartoon I make no apologies. We all, as writers, are gatekeepers to this realm, aren't we? And each of us, in our own unique way, delves beyond the gate to do our work.Add a Comment
I have known Iza several years and enjoy following a really consistent strong book career. We also share a love of hiking and covered bridges! And Iza is not the first Polish illustrator I have had on my blog!
[JM] Illustrator … Continue reading →
Did you know that, generally speaking, Europeans have absolutely no interest in the works of Dr. Seuss? It’s true. For years his works have been untranslatable (though great inroads have been made thanks to some recent Spanish editions) and those that remain in the original English have done very poorly in the United Kingdom. Americans by and large tend to be baffled by this. We look at the British lists of Best Picture Books and the like and find them Seuss-free zones. Abandon Seuss, all ye who enter here. I once asked an overseas friend if she’d ever heard of The Lorax. What she’d heard of was the abominable Danny DeVito movie. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Here in the States we rely heavily on Seuss because he was such a genius when it came to writing rhyming verse for the very youngest of readers. Now I hold in my hands a big, beautiful, thick collection of poetry for the very smallest of fry and I have to face an uncomfortable notion. If indeed the English are capable of producing books this good for kids this young, perhaps they don’t need any Seuss. With Rosen and Riddell pairing in this way, they seem perfectly capable of making remarkable, rhythmic, ridiculously catchy titles of their very own.
Thirty-five poems greet you. Thirty-five varying in complexity and content. Just to set the tone, the first rhyme is “Tippy-Tappy” and it contains such a catchy rhythm and happy beat that kids will be bouncing in tandem by the time it is done. Next is “The Button Bop”, limited in word count, high on bops. Accompanied by the vibrant watercolors of artist Chris Riddell, each poem aims to set itself apart from the pack. Some are short, and some slightly longer. Some are anxious or scared while others beat their chests and roar their loudest. It feels like there’s something for everyone in this collection, but the takeaway is how well it holds together. A treasure in a treasury.
Michael Rosen isn’t a household name in United States, but I’d say at least one of his books is. Anyone who has ever sought out or read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury has read his words. We’re just nuts about that book, and we have him to thank for it. Despite that, he’s not an author to relegate himself to just one kind of story. Indeed, I haven’t seen him produce much of anything quite as young as “Bear Hunt” in years (or, at the very least, I haven’t seen works of his brought to U.S. shores this “young” in content). That’s why this book is such a surprise and a delight.
If you have a small child, you grow accustomed to the classic nursery rhymes. They have, after all, withstood the test of time. Still, roundabout the one hundred and fortieth time you’ve read “Bye, Baby Bunting” you long for something a little different. Imagine then the palpable sense of relief such a parent might feel when reading jaunty little poems like “What a Fandango!” starring (what else?) a mango. The thing about Rosen is that so many of his poems feel as if they’ve been in the canon of nursery rhymery for centuries. “Oh Dear” is very much in the same vein as “Hush, Little Baby” all thanks to its regular rhythm and repetition. “Party Time” counts down and brings to mind “This Old Man” in reverse. And should you be under the misbegotten understanding that writing poems of this sort is easy, go on. Write one yourself. Now fill a book with them. I’ll just wait right here and finish my sandwich.
It is also worth noting that without including any verbal instructions, even the dullest of parental readers will catch on pretty early that many of these poems are interactive. Consider “Finger Story” where your fingers are instructed to do everything from “wake up” and “stretch” to “climb” and “slide”. And just in case they’re still not getting it, Chris Riddell’s art is on hand, showing a pudgy youngster and an orangutan of uncommon sweetness walking their fingers together on the ground.
What is interesting to me here is that in terms of age of the reader, Rosen isn’t limiting himself solely to toddlers. There are a couple poems in here that preschoolers would probably appreciate more than their drooling, babbling brethren. “I Am Hungry”, for example, stars a hungry bear listing everything he could eat at this moment (both the usual fare and unusual selections like “A funny joke” or “The sound of yes”) ending with “Then I’ll eat me” which is just the right level of ridiculousness to amuse the canny four-year-old. And “Don’t Squash” is going to ramp up the silly levels pretty effectively when a splatter happy elephant is instructed not to squash her toes, nose, a bun, the sun, cars, stars, a fly, or the very sky.
Now just the slightest glance of a gander at the back bookflap of this book and you’ll get an eyeful of the sheer talent Rosen has been paired with over the years. His words have been brought to life by folks no less eminent than Helen Oxenbury, Quentin Blake, Bob Graham, and more. Truth be told, I don’t really know if this is his first book with Chris Riddell or not. I will say, though, that when I saw that Riddell was the artist on this title I was surprised. When last seen in the States, Riddell had illustrated that nobly intentioned but ultimately awful Russell Brand Pied Piper of Hamlin. Nothing against Riddell, of course, he did what he could with the material (Clockwork Orange Piper and all). So usually when I see his work I associate it with children’s books a bit more on the hardcore side of the equation. Neil Gaiman and Paul Stewart and the like. Could he do adorable? Could he dial back the disgusting? Yes, yes, and (for good measure) yes again. He has that thing we like to call in the business “talent”. Seems to suit him, it does.
Riddell also seems capable of occasionally re-interpreting Rosen’s rhymes with a particularly child-centric view. The poem “Are You Listening?” felt wildly familiar to me, for example. On the left-hand page sits a guilty dinosaur, slurping a piece of spaghetti, looking mildly nervous. On the right-hand page a toddler is berating a small dinosaur stuffed animal, and it will be very easy indeed for kids looking at the picture to extrapolate the relationship between the realistic dino on the left-hand page, and the one on the right. Sometimes I even got the impression that he was softening the content a tad. The poem “Winter” is one of splinters and blisters, but thanks to the gentle hand of Riddell it turns into a snuggly bear hug with mom. All this and he makes the book multicultural as well. Manifique.
Is it very British? With an author from London and an artist from Brighton it runs the risk of indulging in a bit of English chicanery. There wasn’t much that struck me as containing a particular sense of humor, though, with the possible exception of the poem “Once”. A thoroughly silly but darker little work, it will probably remind Yankee readers more of Shel Silverstein than the aforementioned Seuss. There is also “Lost”, the story of a small mouse all alone, without any particular happy resolution in sight. Had such a poem appeared in a collection for small children originally in the States, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to think that an American editor would have gently nudged the author away from ending the poem with the somewhat dire, “I don’t know, I don’t know, anything at all. / I’m going to sit still now and just look at the wall.”
The least respected form of children’s literature in existence is poetry. It hasn’t any American Library Association awards it can win. It typically is remembered by teachers in April and then never thought of again. But nursery rhymes fare a bit better. Not every parent remembers to read them to their children, but a fair number try. Getting those same parents to read original works of poetry to their little kids can be trickier, so it helps if you package your book as a big, beautiful, lush and gorgeous gift book. Delightful to read aloud again and again (a good thing since I’m afraid you will have to, if only to please your rabid pint-sized audience) and lovely to the eye, Rosen and Riddell aim for the earliest of ages and end up creating a contemporary classic in the process. It may not be Seuss but you won’t miss him while you read it. A necessary purchase for any new parent. A required selection for libraries and bookstores everywhere. Or, as the book puts it, “Tippy-tappy / Tippy-tappy / Tap, tap, tap.”
On shelves now.
Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.
On a rainy day, a little boy escapes into a world of nursery rhymes that is filled with a rainbow of colors. He moves past icons of nursery rhymes like Little Boy Blue, Miss Muffet and her big black spider, Bo Peep’s white sheep, and five pink piggies. Keep a sharp eye out for other nursery rhyme characters in the background, because there’s a list at the end of the book to see if you spotted them. Told in a style that only Alison Jay could achieve with her vintage, crackling illustrations that maintain a modern energy, this book is sure to be a winner with preschoolers.
Jay has such a distinct and unique style that you can spot her books from afar. Just as she has with counting books and alphabet books, Jay has once again captured the timelessness of childhood here. Her exceptional illustrations bring energy and fun to the simple text which focuses on colors and characters. It is in the illustrations that the world comes to life and there is a depth that makes exploring them ever so much fun.
Make room for this one in your section on colors and in your section on nursery rhymes. Combining the two is a brilliantly colorful idea. Appropriate for ages 2-5.
A very friendly new collection of board books from Annie Kubler, these books offer one nursery rhyme in each volume. The child characters are appealing with their large round heads, active hands and feet, and rather jolly feel. The children are multi-ethnic adding to the appeal of the volumes. Kubler presents each nursery rhyme simply and successfully. She does not adorn the verse or change it from the original, rather these are modern versions of the classics.
Recommended for libraries and families, this set would make a great new baby present to get those little ones growing up with nursery rhymes. Appropriate for ages 0-2.
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Salley Mavor. 2010. September 2010. Houghton Mifflin. 72 pages.
I loved this one! I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. Salley Mavor's artwork--her needlework or embroidery--just amazed me. Each and every page of this one wowed me. (You can look inside this book at Amazon.)
The book is a collection of nursery rhymes. You'll find familiar favorites alongside lesser known rhymes. What makes this collection special--really special--is the artwork. It excited me! I just love reading and rereading this one!
I eat my peas with honey. I've done it all my life. They do taste kind of funny. But it keeps them on the knife (47)
Little Miss Muffett Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey; Along came a great spider, Who sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffett away. (28)
This would be a great book for parents (and grandparents) to share with the children in their lives!
Guyku (rhymes with haiku) - illustrated haiku that features boys and things that boys like to do outdoors in each season. My favorite?
Hey, Who turned off all the crickets? I'm not ready for summer to end.
Brilliant! Teachers should be all over this one. Wish there were one for girls (but "Galku" just wouldn't cut it)
Fox, Mem. 2010. Let's Count Goats. Ill. by Jan Thomas. New York: Beach Lane.
Here we see an over goat. And this one's going under. But can we count the crossing goats, terrified of thunder?
Mem Fox, Jan Thomas, silly goats, what's not to like? Great counting book for little ones. (You don't see the word careering very often. Interesting choice.)
Mavor, Salley. 2010. Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Traditional nursery rhymes illustrated in "hand-sewn fabric relief collages." Most of the rhymes are familiar - old classics including Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, and the like. But a few may be so old as to be new,
I'm dusty Bill from Vinegar Hill. Never had a bath and never will.
The depictions of the exquisitely detailed needlework are simply stunning. Even a child who can't appreciate the work involved will know that this book is something special.
This book contains classic nursery rhymes like “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The text is unchanged from the classic style, making this book a reassuring one to share with children. The surprise and wonder of the book is its illustrations. Done in fabrics and threads, the illustrations have a great dimensionality to them, lifting off of the page. There is also an almost irresistible urge to try to feel the fabric’s softness on some pages. If you look closely, you will find other objects in the illustrations as well: small shells, acorn caps, pine cones.
The bright colors make the book immediately appealing. The softness of the illustrations, created by the fabric, continue to add to the appeal. This becomes more than a book of nursery rhymes and turns into a book that can be pored over time and again. It is a refreshing and interesting style that is timeless and lovely.
Highly recommended, this would make a gorgeous baby gift. Stand it up in the library facing out, and it won’t take long for someone to whisk it away to check out. Appropriate for ages 1-3.
I'm actually a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't spent a lot of time teaching my preschooler son all the familiar nursery rhymes. For some reason I read the rhymes more often to my daughter when she was younger. Of course, given my love of Mother Goose, we've read Mother Goose books but not repeatedly. Sometimes I sing the rhymes for my children, but we haven't really listened to many of the nursery rhyme melodies on CD or on DVD either. In my childhood I learned and memorized many nursery rhyme melodies and there's no doubt in my mind that this early exposure to nursery rhymes helped accelerate my reading and rhyming skills.
Team Mom recently introduced my family to a nursery rhyme inspired, educational live-action children's TV series called Mother Goose Club. The series is aimed at the toddler / preschooler age group and currently airs on various PBS stations (though I don't think we've seen it on our local station). Produced by Sockeye Media, the program has received 14 Midsouth Emmy® award nominations. Just recently the company released a DVD called Nursery Rhyme Singing Time with Mother Goose Club. Here's a clip of the song "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" from the DVD:
The DVD includes 15 familiar nursery rhyme songs and five Mother Goose Club episodes.
Songs: Jack Be Nimble • Itsy Bitsy Spider • Hickory Dickory Dock • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe • Rig a Jig Jig • Where is Thumbkin • Little Bo Peep • Clap Your Hands • Baa Baa Baa Sheep • Mary Mary Quite Contrary • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear • Humpty Dumpty • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star • Pat-a-Cake • Little Boy Blue
Episodes: Baa Baa's Rhyme Time Bonanza • Hickory Dickory Dock Rocks • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe Eep Counts to Ten • Itsy Bitsy Spider Time • Teddy Bear Boogie Woogie
The Mother Goose Club characters are certainly zany! The six characters -- Teddy Bear, Jack B. Nimble, Little Bo Peep, Baa Baa Sheep, Mary Quite Contrary, and Eep Mouse -- are actual adults and kids dressed up in brightly colored costumes. The characters sing and dance, all the while teaching young viewers about rhyming words. The characters remind me a little of those from the Doodlebops series, a PBS show we watched for a short period when my daughter was younger. Perhaps that explains her fascination with the Mother Goose Club characters' showy wigs and costumes.
Parents and educators can either pick and choose songs and episodes individually from the menu or play everything at once. If you select "play all," the DVD plays the nursery rhyme songs first and then the episodes. My preschooler son prefers the short and to the point songs and likes to sing along, especially with his favorites, "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." The episodes concentrate primarily on teaching rhyming skills using various nursery rhymes. I did notice that a few of the songs aren't what I expected. "Where is Thumbkin" is abbreviated and only covers thumbkin and pointer, neglecting the other fingers. The "Baa Baa Black Sheep" song rhyme is actually titled
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Nursery rhymes. What’s up with that? (I feel like a stand up comedian when I put it that way). They’re ubiquitous but nonsensical. Culturally relevant but often of unknown origins. Children’s literary scholar Leonard Marcus ponders the amazing shelf life of nursery rhymes himself and comes up with some answers. Why is it that they last as long as they do in the public consciousness? Marcus speculates that “the old-chestnut rhymes that beguile in part by sounding so emphatically clear about themselves while in fact leaving almost everything to our imagination” leave themselves open to interpretation. And who better to do a little interpreting than cartoonists? Including as many variegated styles as could be conceivably collected in a single 128-page book, editor Chris Duffy plucks from the cream of the children’s graphic novel crop (and beyond!) to create a collection so packed with detail and delight that you’ll find yourself flipping to the beginning to read it all over again after you’re done. Mind you, I wouldn’t go handing this to a three-year-old any time soon, but for a certain kind of child, this crazy little concoction is going to just the right bit of weirdness they require.
Fifty artists are handed a nursery rhyme apiece. The goal? Illustrate said poem. Give it a bit of flair. Put in a plot if you have to. So it is that a breed of all new comics, those of the nursery ilk, fill this book. Here at last you can see David Macaulay bring his architectural genius to “London Bridge is Falling Down” or Roz Chast give “There Was a Crooked Man” a positive spin. Leonard Marcus offers an introduction giving credence to this all new coming together of text and image while in the back of the book editor Chris Duffy discusses the rhymes’ history and meaning. And as he says in the end, “We’re just letting history take its course.”
In the interest of public scrutiny, the complete list of artists on this book consists of Nick Abadzis, Andrew Arnold, Kate Beaton, Vera Brosgol, Nick Bruel, Scott Campbell, Lilli Carre, Roz Chast, JP Coovert, Jordan Crane, Rebecca Dart, Eleanor Davis, Vanessa Davis, Theo Ellsworth, Matt Forsythe, Jules Feiffer, Bob Flynn, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Ben Hatke, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Lucy Knisley, David Macaulay, Mark Martin, Patrick McDonnell, Mike Mignola, Tony Millionaire, Tao Nyeu, George O’Connor, Mo Oh, Eric Orchard, Laura Park, Cyril Pedrosa, Lark Pien, Aaron Renier, Dave Roman, Marc Rosenthal, Stan Sakai, Richard Sala, Mark Siegel, James Sturm, Raina Telgemeier, Craig Thompson, Richard Thompson, Sara Varon, Jen Wang, Drew Weing, Gahan Wilson, Gene Luen Yang, and Stephanie Yue (whew!). And as with any collection, some of the inclusions are going to be stronger than others. Generally speaking if fifty people do something, some of them are going to have a better grasp on the process than others. That said, only a few of these versions didn’t do it for me. At worst the versions were mediocre. At best they went in a new direction with their mat
Moses, Will. 2011. Mary and Her Little Lamb: The True Story of the Famous Nursery Rhyme. New York: Philomel.
Most children in America will grow up learning the rhyme or the song about Mary and her little lamb, but few will give it any serious thought. We may similarly prattle about Old King Cole, Wee Willie Winkie, or Jack Sprat, but we don't expect to know anything more about them than their propensities for pipe smoking and music, late night excursions in inappropriate clothing and a distaste for high-fat diets.
Luckily for children, however, we can know a little more about Mary and her little lamb. Will Moses' detailed folkart paintings (many double-spreads), are a perfect accompaniment to the true story of Mary Sawyer of Sterling, Massachusetts, circa 1810. The pastoral images of 19th century Sterling and the simple features of the one-room schoolhouse are beautifully rendered in colorful oils. The story is somewhat lengthy, but Moses employs artistic license to add story enriching details that create a fast-paced, enjoyable read-aloud story. Delightful in words and pictures!
Note: Earlier this year on the KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month blog, I highlighted Laurie Halse Anderson's book, Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) was a fascinating woman. Not only did she almost single-handedly create the national Thanksgiving Holiday, she was also a writer, editor and a poet. I noted that she penned the ditty, "Mary Had a Little Lamb," which I learned from the back matter in Thank You, Sarah. However, there is apparently more to the story. According to the afterword in Mary and Her Little Lamb, John Roulstone wrote the first stanza of the now-famous poem in the 1810s. Sarah Hale published the poem in 1930, apparently adding three more stanzas. Later, musician Lowell Mason, set the rhyme to music, adding the repetitive lines that we all sing today. Regardless of its evolutionary process, it's amazing that a 4-line ditty about a girl and her lamb could so enchant the schoolhouse visitor John Roulstone, the accomplished writer Sarah Hale, and the famous musician, Lowell Mason. How much more simple life must have been in the early 1800s! There is no end to the things one can learn from picture books.
Yesterday was the deadline for the Tomie de Paolo SCBWI award 2012. The theme ... if you didn't guess already ... is the classic tale 'Chicken Licken'. Here's what I did ...
Inked with hand dipping pen
First colouring ... didn't like colours
Final colouring in watercolour. I changed a couple of details in photoshop. If you look at the inked copy you will see I tweaked the shape of Turkey Lurkey's tail, the size of Henny Penny and removed some of the 'marks' on the road.
The piece took me a couple of days.
Wish me luck! The award is announced early January - the winner receives $1000 and all expenses paid to the SCBWI conference to NY in Spring. And as I haven't scheduled to be there this year, it would be sweeeet.
Whatever, it was a fun piece to do. Lately I seem to have been drawing a lot of fowl!
I'm still trying to find a something I like...time to redo the kitties...this time the line art is done in Illustrator. I'll repaint a new background and post it later. I just might have to redraw it before I'm happy!
The Very Best Mother Goose Book Tower. By Iona Opie. Illustrated by Rosemary Wells. 2010. (February 2010). Candlewick. 80 pages.
Earlier in the month, I reviewed Maisy's Book Tower. I started my review by asking if the product was a book or a toy! I still don't have the perfect answer for that one. Because this is really the first time that I've encounter stacking book towers. (Books meant to serve dual purposes as a book-book and stacking blocks.) We've got four books included in this set. Jack and Jill And Other Classic Rhymes. Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat And Other Animal Rhymes. Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake And Other Action Rhymes. Wee Willie Winkie And Other Lullabies.
Mother Goose can be tricky at times because there are more than a few variations to the text itself. And it can be frustrating (at times, at least for some readers) for the book to "get it wrong." For example, I got a little annoyed that "I'm A Little Teapot" is all wrong:
I'm a little teapot, short and stout, Here's my handle, Here's my spout. When the tea is ready, hear me shout, Pick me up and pour me out!
Overall, I think there's a good mix of rhymes that are familiar (or familiar enough at any rate) and completely unfamiliar. Some of these are ones that I've not come across before.
What does a cat, a cow, and a table setting have in common?Absolutely nothing. But combine them together and you got yer self a funny little rhyme and a kick ass addition to any nursery room.
This 5.5×5.5″ three piece wall art set was inspired by one of my all time favorite rhymes of randomness “Hey Diddle Diddle“.
Fun fun stuff. I wanted to keep this a 3 piece so I left out a line from the rhyme. Besides that line about the little dog laughing sounded a little too far fetched for me (oh if only sarcasm transferred well when reading.)Put them in any order you want. One of the best part about this rhyme is that it doesn’t make any sense so order doesn’t exist.