Yaccarino's (Bittle) inventive, sharp-contoured images of city life unify this assortment of 34 nursery rhymes, which would have benefited from a more organized design. The contents range from such standards as "Humpty Dumpty" and "Pat-a-cake" to lesser-known work. For a preachy schoolroom verse ("May we, like the clock,/ Keep a face clean and bright,/ With hands ever ready/ To do what is right"), Yaccarino pictures a diligent boy unaware of two classmates holding a slingshot and peashooter. Just as Rosemary Wells offers ironic visual information in her more elaborate Mother Goose volumes, Yaccarino creates one illustration per poem and adds playful details unspoken by the rhymes; polite men in suits doff their hats and prim women wear fifties dresses in his retro-urban tableaux. When the "Hickory, dickory, dock" clock strikes one, the mouse takes a nose-dive toward a sleeping man's open mouth. The beatnik cat of "Hey, diddle, diddle!" plays his fiddle on a park bench, oblivious to the cop chasing a dish with a purloined spoon. The smooth-edged, stylized images expand on the concise verse, yet no drop caps (except on the first page) or page borders lend closure to individual poems, and no index or table of contents serves as a guide. Since some spreads offer one poem and others feature two rhymes per page, it makes for an awkward progression through this collection. Ages 2-5. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This is not the typical warm and fuzzy version of Mother Goose nursery rhymes usually purchased for baby showers or read cuddling toddlers on your lap. Who is the intended audience of this citified Mother Goose? Most likely students of children's literature needing alternative illustrations to traditional literature or anyone wanting a different spin on the nursery rhyme matriarch. Mother Goose, who resembles a Halloween witch in this rendition, is shown gliding effortlessly over heavy traffic on her fine goose on the cover. Mary's little lamb follows Mary to school in a yellow taxi. Miss Muffet's tuffet is in a diner and the Old Woman in the Shoe is in a tight neighborhood that includes high rises and a pumpkin. Yaccarino's illustrations are sharp, bright and colorful, but reminiscent of 1950's and 1960's pen and ink drawings without the lines. Perhaps that is the intent, but at times it distracts from the comforting innocence that most of us grew up with and expect from this classic and timeless literature. 2004 (orig. 2003), Random House, Ages 4 to 8.
PreS-Gr 1-Yaccarino lends his unique style to an up-to-date urban Mother Goose with great success. His strongly colored, stylized cartoon figures fill the pages with fun: this goose wears hip sunglasses; Tom the piper's son is a cool clarinetist; the Old Woman and her shoe live in a city of skyscrapers not far from a certain pumpkin; and Mary's lamb follows her in a taxi to school. Included are several less-well-known rhymes, in addition to the old familiar ones. The book ends neatly: "The Man in the Moon/Looked out of the moon/And this is what he said, `'Tis time for all children on earth/To think about getting to bed!'" The little piggies that went to market, had roast beef, etc., are outlined on the blue endpapers. Well conceived and certainly well worth adding to nursery-rhyme collections.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Yaccarino casts 34 traditional Mother Goose nursery rhymes into an unconventional urban setting. A sassy Mother Goose wearing sun glasses soars above a congested traffic jam astride her high-flying gander. Cool dude Peter Piper carries an overflowing basket of pickled peppers down the street while a beat cat in black turtle neck and beret fiddles for his supper on a bench as a cop chases a dish running away with the spoon. Old Mother Hubbard gazes into a modern kitchen cupboard and Mary's little lamb follows her school bus in a yellow taxi. The stylized illustrations in flat, bright colors evoke a retro fifties mood that definitely gives a humorous new look to some very familiar rhymes. Mother Goose reinterpreted lives on. (Picture book. 2-5)