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Grumbles from the Town: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist
     

Grumbles from the Town: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist

by Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Angela Matteson (Illustrator)
 

Poets Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich take fourteen Mother-Goose rhymes that have been enjoyed by generations of children and twist them in ways sure to delight modern kids. These poem pairs feature wildly different voices and perspectives, and Angela Matteson’s stunning illustrations add further hilarious details. So while Humpty Dumpty’s classmate

Overview

Poets Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich take fourteen Mother-Goose rhymes that have been enjoyed by generations of children and twist them in ways sure to delight modern kids. These poem pairs feature wildly different voices and perspectives, and Angela Matteson’s stunning illustrations add further hilarious details. So while Humpty Dumpty’s classmate explains why he’s sitting in time-out again, Matteson’s art shows Humpty Dumpty as a daredevil skateboarder teetering on a wall. The poems have strong rhythm and rhyme, making Grumbles from the Town a terrific read-aloud. This lavish volume includes the original Mother Goose rhymes, endnotes that briefly describe their history, and an introduction that invites readers to imagine their own poems from unusual perspectives and “create magic.”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This quirky Mother Goose book turns convention on its head. Each of the 14 selections contemporizes a traditional rhyme and pairs it with a rebuttal or an aside by a grumpy protagonist... inventive." —Kirkus Reviews

"Creative... broad-ranging… spins on Mother Goose nursery rhymes… Whimsical, cartoonish acrylic-and-pencil illustrations incorporate playful details and decorative page embellishments, blending classic scenarios and contemporary settings and elements. A playful addition to any poetry section." —Booklist

"The imaginative poems can tickle the funny bone… an excellent choice for writing workshops and classroom prompts." —School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
In the same manner as their earlier collaboration, Grumbles in the Forest, authors Yolen and Dotlich take well-known nursery rhymes and create alternate viewpoints and back stories. The results are not only comical, but should also inspire extended lessons on nursery rhymes, satire, and poetry construction. They extend fourteen classic poems by each taking an alternate view. “Little Jack Horner,” for example, is spying on a delicious looking plum pie with a lattice top while a plum inside the pie tries to hide from Jack’s encroaching thumb. “Jack and Jill” climb up the hill, and the hill comments on their ascent while the spilled bucket speaks about the pair’s head over tail descent. A broken-hearted fork bemoans desertion by the spoon and the plate from “Hey Diddle Diddle.” Meanwhile, the spoon, crazy in love, is relieved to have escaped a crazy house populated by other nursery rhyme characters. The acrylic illustrations are stylized and funny, full of bigheaded characters with exaggerated features. Particularly fun is the very last set in which “Three Blind Mice” come to life in a graphic novel format in which near-sighted (not blind) mice escape, not a farmer’s wife, but a grocery store manager’s spouse trying to protect the cheese aisle. As with any satirical book, it is necessary for the reader to know the original rhymes to understand the puns and humor. Yolen and Dolitch helpfully include the originals in the back matter and trace the derivation of the rhymes through history. This is a fine way for children to learn to change perspective on familiar classics with text that elevates the originals beyond the preschool set. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 6 to 10.
School Library Journal
09/01/2016
Gr 2–4—A nice size for group read-alouds, this collection is similar to Yolen and Dotlich's first book of twists on nursery rhymes, Grumbles from the Forest. Here, the townsfolk have their say. The original rhymes are found in the endpapers and include many that are well known. There are 14 rhymes in all, with each poet writing one poem per nursery rhyme—with the exception of the last poem, "Three Blind Mice," a collaboration. At the book's beginning there is a "Dear Reader" letter that explains perspective and invites readers to create their own verses. The imaginative poems can tickle the funny bone: Yolen creates a Humpty Dumpty who excels as the class clown and is accident-prone, while Dotlich makes the entire Dumpty family out to be a bunch of "mischievous eggs" who are often in a scrape because they are "always in places/they shouldn't be." Many of Matteson's illustrations are spreads that use soft pastel colors and full-faced cartoon characters. VERDICT While the artwork in the first anthology was more evocative, the images here are effective but on the cute side. Still, an excellent choice for writing workshops and classroom prompts.—Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA
Kirkus Reviews
2016-05-18
This quirky Mother Goose book turns convention on its head.Each of the 14 selections contemporizes a traditional rhyme and pairs it with a rebuttal or an aside by a grumpy protagonist. The vegetarian princess in "Sing a Song of Sixpence" waxes poetic about freeing blackbirds while (inexplicably) dealing with "four-and-twenty cantaloupes / stashed inside my jeans." Her grumpy maid, however, launches into an unwieldy tirade about avian-infested pies. "A bloke poked his head out the window. / King wants another pie! he cried. / I mumbled a few choice words, I did. / Who, I ask you, in their right mind / bakes pies of birds?" The double-page format facilitates the flow from reworked verse to denouement. Spoon is pleased with her rescue from fiddling cats and moon-leaping cows, and Plum rants against Jack Horner's skewering thumb. Matteson's acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations on wood board smoothly incorporate racial diversity; Jack Horner is black, and King Cole and his daughter have light-brown skin and kinky hair. The artwork is lively and fanciful—Humpty rides a skateboard, and Miss Muffet's plotting spider strums a banjo. However, the collection is in want of an audience. Rather than poems clearly written for children, this latest Yolen/Dotlich collaboration (Grumbles from the Forest, 2013) comes across as a creative-writing exercise. The original nursery rhymes and historical notes are appended (to the detriment of the new rhymes). An inventive miss. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590789223
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/13/2016
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,328,874
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
NP (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Golden Kite Award, two Christopher Medals, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota, and the Regina Medal for her body of work. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and St. Andrews, Scotland. janeyolen.com

Rebecca Kai Dotlich is the author of many poetry and picture books, including Lemonade Sun; One Day, The End.; and The Knowing Book. She gives presentations and poetry workshops to students, teachers, librarians, and writers across the country. She lives near Indianapolis, Indiana. rebeccakaidotlich.com

Angela Matteson is a children’s book illustrator and a designer of greeting cards and gift packaging. Her paintings have been shown in galleries, both locally and nationally. This is her first picture book. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. angelamatteson.com

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