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Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes, Songs and Concepts, illustrated by David McPhail. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2103. $22.99 all ages

"Ride away, ride away,
Johnny shall ride,
He shall have a pussy cat
Tied to one side;
He shall have a little dog
Tied to the other.
And Johnny shall ride
To see his grandmother."

Oh, I know who's going to get this book in her Christmas bag...Miss Kaya! It is a perfect size, and is filled with so many of the memorable traditional verses that I knew as a child, and then shared with our own children. What a  collection it is!

To have David McPhail choose and then design the accompanying artwork for this new anthology of rhymes, songs and concepts is the icing on the cake for me! In his introduction he explains that these  Mother Goose rhymes have been a family tradition throughout his life. He says that his mother did not have to read them to him, she knew them by heart. He went on to share them with his children and:

"the rhymes are still important to me. They are lodged deep in my consciousness. From them I learned about play and about work; about joy and sorrow; about manners, ethics, and dreams. These lessons do not grow old."

Today, he shares them with his grandchildren! And now, he shares them with us...lucky we are!

His familiar strong black lines, his expressive characters, his use of light and shadow, and his ever-changing design will have listeners begging for more. Those who are familiar with the rhymes will recognize favorite characters, whether human or animal, and will soon be able to chant the rhymes on their own. There is so much energy and delight on its pages!

I love that he has chosen to include some 'concept' pages which are sure to garner further interest from young readers: Getting Dressed, My ABCs, Going Places with Henry and Bear, My 123s, action words, Shapes, Colors. They invite for rapt attention and encourage conversations when sharing.

He ends with lullabies and verses that encourage slumber. His final poem is for his brother, to whom this book is dedicated:

"I love you well,
my little brother,
And you are fond of me;
Let us be kind to one another,
As brothers ought to be.

You shall learn to play with me,
And you can use my toys;
And then I think that we shall be
Two happy little boys."

Captivating,  and what a charming and memorable gift for someone you love.


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