Tonight while reading Detective Blue by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Tedd Arnold, I realized I failed ML. She didn’t get parts of the story because she didn’t know all the nursery rhymes references. I feared I missed my chance. Once children reach a certain age, nursery rhymes are seen as babyish. Luckily, children’s authors and illustrators are keeping them alive in children’s minds by expanding on rhymes or changing the rhymes’ words.
Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Jeff Mack – Cindy Moo overhears the farmer’s daughter reading the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle. She decides if the cow in the story can jump over the moon, she can too. She tries and fails. Then, tries and fails again. But Cindy Moo doesn’t give up hope. Even when the moon disappears completely. After a very rainy evening, she is able to jump over the moon. We love the various facial expressions on the cows throughout the book.
The Adventures of the The Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey -Another book playing on the “Hey Diddle, Diddle” rhyme. This book is a love story highlighting the fun and not so fun times the dish and spoon experience after running away. The illustrations suggest they fell off the white cliffs of Dover and floated all the way to the Statue of Liberty. After robbing a bank, dish is broken and immediately deported. Spoon serves jail time and is deported upon release. They reconnect in a Junk Shop. I’ve featured Mini Grey before. ML loves her books and I do too. The hidden comedy for adults in her illustrations delights.
Monster Goose by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Jack E. Davis – ML calls these “Scary Nursery Rhymes.” With titles like “Mary Had a Vampire Bat” and Little Miss Mummy” popular nursery rhymes words are changed. The new rhymes follow the same rhythm of the original. ML and the boy down the street like to pretend they are zombies. So ML’s favorite rhyme was “There Was an Old Zombie.” I like “Slithery, Dithery, Dock.” The illustrations are not too scary, but scary-funny. No nightmares after reading this book.
The Web Files by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Richard Egielski– Thankfully, I didn’t fail ML completely. She got all the nursery rhyme references in this book and loved the play on words like “The sheep said this is b-a-a-a-d! Really b-a-a-a-d!” and “quack the case.” You can’t help but laugh at all the nursery rhyme characters featured in the illustrations. Our favorite part of the book… repeating Dum De Dum Dum.
As a child, I remember pouring over Mother Goose: A Treasury of Best-Loved Rhymes edited by Watty Piper and illustrated by Tim and Greg Hildebrandt. Last night I found it on my bookshelf and shared a few rhymes with ML. Thankfully, she’s not opposed to an overdue education on nursery rhymes. She thinks it’s cool to read a book I read as a child, published the year of my birth.