Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyThe children's literature version of VH1's Behind the Music, Over the Candlestick: Classic Nursery Rhymes and the Real Stories Behind Them, collected by father-and-son team Michael G. Montgomery and Wayne Montgomery, illus., by Michael G. Montgomery, gives the historical scoop on such classics as "Little Miss Muffet," "Old King Cole" and "Jack and Jill." Chapters on "Riddles" and "Tongue Twisters" accompany the oldest recorded versions of the 14 tales. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 5-Fourteen well-known nursery rhymes, along with a selection of riddles and tongue twisters, are illustrated and simply explicated in large picture-book format. In his preface, Michael G. Montgomery acknowledges William and Ceil Baring-Gould's The Annotated Mother Goose (Potter, 1962; o.p.) and Iona and Peter Opie's The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1998) as sources for this "brief look at some of the real stories" behind the rhymes. The authors' engaging and accessible explanations combine information from the sources or paraphrase and simplify the Opies' detailed notes. At times, they add interpretations or questions to the explanatory notes, as when they wonder why Miss Muffet's spider would covet the unappetizing curds and whey. Compared to the abundance of excellent art the nursery rhymes have inspired, the full-page illustrations are mostly mediocre in quality, with tepid colors and cliched expressions that sometimes border on grotesque. Montgomery's figures have a still, static quality at odds with the wild anarchical movement of the text. The rhymes are better served by Faith Jaques's paintings for Zena Sutherland's The Orchard Book of Nursery Rhymes (1990), which has good general background notes. There is not enough in the Montgomerys' book to warrant first purchase.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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