Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brand new: Ruth Sanderson’s Mother Goose

Every year brings new collections of Mother’s Goose rhymes—some re-envisioned in modern contexts, others harkening back to a more classic interpretation. Ruth Sanderson’s new collection falls into the latter category, and offers a pretty, romantic backdrop of illustrations for an extensive gathering of nearly 70 nursery rhymes, plus a handful of poems with poets attributed (like “The Purple Cow”) that all fit together beautifully. An introduction provides interesting background information on Sanderson's selection and illustration process, and reminds us that “repeating the verses makes learning to speak a great game.” Thus, Sanderson has featured rhymes simply and directly with single stanzas and colorful illustrations that make the verses accessible and memorable for the very young child. Images of children in pinafores and knickers alongside delicate fairies and whimsical trolls, in settings of inviting meadows and forests, add a quaint and magical element. I probably don’t have to share a sample Mother Goose rhyme since these are so widely familiar, but I was pleased to find a new “Mary” rhyme to accompany the familiar “Mary had a little lamb.” At least, it was new to me!

Mary Had a Pretty Bird

Mary had a pretty bird,

Feathers bright and yellow;

Slender legs, upon my word,

He was a pretty fellow.

The sweetest notes he always sang,

Which quite delighted Mary;

And near the cage she’d always sit

To hear her own canary.

From: Sanderson, Ruth. 2008. Mother Goose and Friends. New York: Little, Brown, p. 56.

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