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Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children
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Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children

by Lisa Wheeler, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
 

Some children are simply too naughty for Mother Goose to handle. Luckily her sister Spinster Goose knows just how to deal with these uncouth urchins. Her school is home to some world-class troublemakers: they bite and pinch, they talk back and fight—they eat chalk! But brats beware—this isn’t just any school, and Spinster isn't your average

Overview

Some children are simply too naughty for Mother Goose to handle. Luckily her sister Spinster Goose knows just how to deal with these uncouth urchins. Her school is home to some world-class troublemakers: they bite and pinch, they talk back and fight—they eat chalk! But brats beware—this isn’t just any school, and Spinster isn't your average goose. Her curious methods will rid these students of their horrendous behaviors…right?

Fans of Mother Goose will delight in these devilishly twisted alternatives to classic rhymes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of Mother Goose parodies by Wheeler (Ugly Pie) and Blackall (Pecan Pie Baby) is as elegant as it is, like Mary, "quite contrary." The no-nonsense Spinster Goose oversees a reform school: "Not painted up pretty,/ it's mottled and gray./ The grounds are a nightmare./ (She likes it that way)." Blackall's pallid vignettes balance chilly poise and mordant humor. In one spread, a line of truculent children/animal hybrids slouch beneath Spinster Goose's gaze, one with a cigarette smoking behind her back. In "The Dirty Kid," medical-style spots provide closeups of the lice in bath-averse Polly Flinders's hair and the toejam between her toes. Wheeler adds some intellectual depth to the original nursery rhymes while grossifying them. Little Miss Muffet chews chalk, while a familiar Mary is recast as an unrepentant fibber ("Mary had a little lamb./ She said it was a horse./ But anyone with eyes could see/ it was a lamb, of course"). Though some may shrink from its clever ghastliness, kids with twisted senses of humor will feel right at home. Ages 5–up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
What does Mother Goose do with the naughty children that she can no longer handle? She sends them out to her sister who runs a school for children with unrefined manners and terrible behaviors. In her introduction, Mother Goose informs the readers that the disobedient children become the changes of Spinster Goose. Then, the tour of the school begins. Read the dark, twisted nursery rhymes about the disobedient youngsters. Find out about the eating habits of Little Miss Muffet who haunting smile is chalk-lit or how Spinster Goose handles Georgie Porgie, the bully who picked on the younger kids. Read the verses on what happens to the little girl who always twirled her curl or to Jack and Jill who skipped class. Find out what Spinster Goose has in store for them. The illustrations have a ghoulish appearance; the muted gray clothing of the characters brings about a bleak look for the misbehaving urchins. The readers who like a bit of dark humor will probably enjoy the classic nursery rhymes served with a twist. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—As the title suggests, these rhymes lean toward the dark side and will appeal most to those who like their giggles with a bit of a spin. The endpaper image sets the scene—a bleak-looking house with barred windows and playground in disrepair sits on a lonely, empty landscape. This is where Mother Goose sends incorrigible children to live with her sister, Spinster Goose, and where they eventually get their comeuppance. Wheeler's verses showcase well-known nursery rhyme characters, but their deeds here take a far different path. Margery Daw's constant gum chewing, Bobby Shaftoe's thievery, Georgie Porgie's bullying, and Peter Peter's cheating are these youngsters' misdemeanors and are dealt with—at least at Spinster Goose's school—in revolutionary ways. "Baa Baa Black Sheep/loves to curse and swear./Here a BLEAT. There a BLEAT./BLEAT, BLEAT everywhere!" What does the Spinster do? "She hires shearers from the north,/hygienists from the south./They promptly shear his BLEATING wool,/then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Blackall backs up the rhymes with wry, devilish images that surround, infiltrate, and help spark this offbeat collection. Pairing these parodies with a traditional Mother Goose book (such as those by Tomie dePaola or Rosemary Wells) will help expand listeners' appreciation of Wheeler's humor.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews

Delectably satiric nursery rhymes play with naughtiness and punishment. Mother Goose sends disobedient children (some human, some half-animal) to her sister Spinster Goose's reform school, where "The pinchers get pinched, / and the pokers get poked. / The biters get bit, / and the smokers get smoked." Crimes range from eating chalk to stealing sweets and cheating. Some consequences arise naturally (gum-chewer's gum explodes on her face), while others come at Spinster's strict hand: Baa Baa Black Sheep swears, so Spinster "hires shearers from the north, / hygenists [sic] from the south. / They promptly shear his BLEATING wool, / then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Real violence remains mostly at rumor level as threats—an electric chair and stretching rack are shown but not used. Lard-boiled beans prove that "Life is Gruel"; deliberately filthy Polly Flinders refuses to shower because "this punk is into Grunge." Badness was never more enjoyable than Wheeler's wicked rewrites: "Friday's child stole seventeen lunches. / Saturday's child threw seventeen punches. / But the child who got a Sunday detention / did something too naughty for me to mention." Blackall's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness of necks bending in woe, cheeks paling in nausea and this whole mob of unbiddable, hybrid Struwwelpeter/Gorey kids. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)

Kirkus Reviews

Delectably satiric nursery rhymes play with naughtiness and punishment. Mother Goose sends disobedient children (some human, some half-animal) to her sister Spinster Goose's reform school, where "The pinchers get pinched, / and the pokers get poked. / The biters get bit, / and the smokers get smoked." Crimes range from eating chalk to stealing sweets and cheating. Some consequences arise naturally (gum-chewer's gum explodes on her face), while others come at Spinster's strict hand: Baa Baa Black Sheep swears, so Spinster "hires shearers from the north, / hygenists [sic] from the south. / They promptly shear his BLEATING wool, / then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Real violence remains mostly at rumor level as threats—an electric chair and stretching rack are shown but not used. Lard-boiled beans prove that "Life is Gruel"; deliberately filthy Polly Flinders refuses to shower because "this punk is into Grunge." Badness was never more enjoyable than Wheeler's wicked rewrites: "Friday's child stole seventeen lunches. / Saturday's child threw seventeen punches. / But the child who got a Sunday detention / did something too naughty for me to mention." Blackall's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness of necks bending in woe, cheeks paling in nausea and this whole mob of unbiddable, hybrid Struwwelpeter/Gorey kids. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416925415
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
03/08/2011
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
457,507
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Lisa Wheeler has written eighteen books for children, including The Pet Project, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, and the hilarious Spinster Goose, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. She lives with her family in Addison, Michigan. Visit her online at LisaWheelerBooks.com.

Sophie Blackall is an Australian illustrator whose previous books include Ruby's Wish and Meet Wild Boars. She also illustrates the Ivy & Bean series. Sophie lives in Brooklyn, New York and can be visited at sophieblackall.com.

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