As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 1, 2012

FAVORITE NURSERY RHYMES FROM MOTHER GOOSE illustrated by Scott Gustafson, 2007

From nonsense to lessons learned, these 45 rhymes include the very well known (Itsy Bitsy Spider) and the somewhat familiar (Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen). The truly fantastic pictures speak more than a thousand words as artist Scott Gustafson riffs in paint on themes present and imagined in each verse. (Goodreads)

Review by Kim Harris Thacker, writer, mommy, and Bookshop Talk Host

I’ve always loved Mother Goose rhymes! When I was a young child, I thought they were peculiar and humorous even as I jumped rope to them. My love of the rhymes grew as I did, and during my teenage years, I learned that many of what we call the Mother Goose verses are actually loaded with hidden meaning.

As the mother of two young children, I have done my fair share of bedtime nursery rhyme reciting...and long-car-trip-time nursery rhyme reciting, too. And because I love these rhymes, I have created my own mental vision of what the characters look like. To me, Jack Horner (who sits in a corner eating his Christmas pie) is a red-cheeked, chubby little boy wearing knickers and a navy blue embroidered jacket and looking very pleased with himself. Peter (the pumpkin eater) has hair as orange as the pumpkins he eats (with a sharp knife). He also wears a malicious grin as he listens to his wife beating on the inside of the hollow pumpkin he has stuffed her in. He is rather violent, actually. I’m certain my children see pictures of the Mother Goose characters in their minds, too, as I recite the many rhymes I have memorized to them.

One of the biggest reasons I love Scott Gustafson’s illustrated FAVORITE NURSERY RHYMES FROM MOTHER GOOSE, is that Gustafson’s vision of the Mother Goose characters is so utterly unique. There are even animal characters and insect characters, such as nimble Jack (a grasshopper), who jumps over the candlestick! And the lion and the unicorn (who fight around the town) wear boxing gloves! How wonderful!

If you love the Mother Goose rhymes, you simply must find a copy of Scott Gustafson’s FAVORITE NURSERY RHYMES FROM MOTHER GOOSE. The illustrations are breathtaking and give new life to the familiar rhymes we know and treasure. There are also plenty of the less-familiar rhymes, too!

If you would like to learn more about the meanings of some of the more common Mother Goose rhymes, I suggest this website: Nursery Rhymes – Lyrics, Origins, & History! There is some scholarly debate regarding the meanings of rhymes, so you might want to look at other websites and read some of the many books about the Mother Goose rhymes, as well.

Market: picture book
Language: none
Sensuality: none (that is, nothing obvious—though the Mother Goose rhymes are not as child-appropriate as we often assume)
Violence: mild (again, nothing very obvious—cutting off tails with carving knives and such—though the true meanings of the rhymes are often horrifically violent)
Mature Themes: none (nothing overt, that is—once again, the Mother Goose rhymes contain more than meets the eye)

Book formats:


Amy Finnegan {} said...

There is still something so special about nursery rhymes, even as an adult. And I lovvvee that my 5 yr old is learning them at school as well as at home. They are just so timeless :)

MKHutchins said...

Thanks for the link. I love learning histories...and there are a lot of those I wouldn't have guessed at.