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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Three Little Kittens, selected and illustrated by Tony Ross. Henry Holt, H B Fenn. 2009. $18.95 birth and up

"'I don't know any stories about real things,' said Grandad, scratching his nose, 'but I do have this book of nursery rhymes. Some of those are about real things, real things that happened many years ago. Mostly, though, they teach something.'"

And Grandad begins sharing a lively book of familiar nursery rhymes with his young granddaughter. They begin with the three little kittens who lose and find their mittens. Without pause, Grandad goes on to share rhyme after rhyme, each accompanied by trademark Tony Ross's detailed and appealing watercolor illustrations. There is much to talk about as you share this lively book, a very fine addition to any collection of nursery rhyme books and a perfect welcome gift for that new baby.

When they are done reading, the book is closed and Nelly wonders if Wee Willie Winkie might tap on her window tonight, when he is checking to see if the children are in bed. Grandad thinks that he might be awfully old to still be tapping on windows!

There are so many children (and parents) who don't know the traditional nursery rhymes that were my poetry when I was young. Our Mom sang them, repeated them and encouraged Jack and I to learn them. We heard the rhythm in language, thought about things that were new to us and became friends with Wee Willie, Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty. Through a book like this a new generation of children might come to know these old, comfortable characters and their stories.

It would be a lovely, lasting gift!

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