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Nursery and Other Rhymes

The Lucy Cousins Book of Nursery Rhymes
Ages: Infant - 3 yrs.
By: Lucy Cousins
Dutton Books

Leaf through Lucy Cousins' illustrations in The Lucy Cousins Book of Nursery Rhymes (Dutton; originally published as The Little Dog Laughed), and you'll find you are laughing too. Bright balloon colors and childlike paintings reinterpret traditional rhymes and familiar words. Here Little Miss Muffet is an African-American kid and so is Jill, who climbs the hill with Jack-he's still white. The king of Spain's daughter looks for all the world as if she were in a Mexico City school pageant. The crooked man who walks a crooked mile is clearly bent out of shape, and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary's garden grows a group of flowers with cheery multicultural children's faces.

Moses Supposes His Toeses Are Roses: And 7 Other Silly Old Rhymes
Ages: Infant - 3 yrs.
By: Nancy Patz
Harcourt Brace

Dizzy Mc Peet, Sweetie McGuire, Betty Botter… it would be hard for a child to resist this rollick of eight less-than-familiar nursery rhymes. The exuberant two-color illustrations are inspired by Pennsylvania folk art but have a style all their own, full of flowing movement. Bonnets, shawls, pipe smoke, heads, and yes-toeses, float or burst from the frames on every page. A delight to read or chant to little ones.

Here Comes Mother Goose Here Comes Mother Goose
Ages: Infant - 3 yrs.
Author: Iona Opie   Illustrator: Rosemary Wells  
Candlewick Press, $21.99 (Hard Cover)   

Good old Mother Goose is a perennial favorite, but she receives a fresh interpretation in this large, hold-on-the-lap volume. Rhymes familiar and uncommon are cheerfully illustrated with Wells' charming animals and the occasional pineapple. ( Kemie Nix ® 1999 Parents' Choice)

It's Raining Pigs & Noodles It's Raining Pigs & Noodles
Ages: All Ages
Author: Jack Prelutsky   Illustrator: James Stevenson  
HarperCollins Children's Books / Amistad, $17.95 (Hard Cover)   

The title, which is also the first line, sets the playful tone. Delightfully antiauthoritarian and antiestablishment, Prelutsky is the unexcelled master of word-playing nonsense. His laugh-aloud poems are rude, disrespectful, annoying and perceptive. In a word, marvelous. (Kemie Nix ® 2000 Parents' Choice)

And the Cow Said Moo! And the Cow Said Moo!
Ages: 1 - 3 yrs.
Author: Mildred Phillips   Illustrator: Sonja Lamut  
HarperCollins Children's Books / Amistad, $15.95 (Hard Cover)   

Mildred Phillips now joins a select company with her elemental script for And the Cow Said Moo! Aware of toddlers' delight in recognizing and naming familiar animals -- along with gleefully providing the "moos," "quacks," "baahs," "neighs," "oinks," and "whoos" that are their hallmarks -- the author also adds a droll note of existential wisdom about what constitutes our individuality: what makes me ME and you YOU. A joyous hymn to the variety that is, indeed, the spice of life, this cumulative rhyme is sure to have youngest listeners clamoring for re-reading after re-reading. (Selma G. Lanes ® 2000 Parents' Choice)

Old Mother Hubbard: A Nursery Rhyme Old Mother Hubbard: A Nursery Rhyme
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Illustrator: David A. Johnson  
Simon & Schuster Children's/Margaret K. McElderry, $16.00 (Hard Cover)   

The familiar nursery rhyme springs to vibrant life, thanks to the skill of a gifted newcomer to children's books. In a style reminiscent of the 19th century English master, Randolph Caldecott, Johnson creates a "poor Dog" so full of antic energy and slapstick mischief that we can hardly wait to see what he will do next. His long-suffering mistress, who caters to her canine's every need, introduces the listener/viewer to a rich assortment of small shopkeepers: a baker, joiner, barber, green-grocer and cobbler among them. The book is a rollicking romp. ( Selma G. Lanes ® 1998 Parents' Choice)

Chinese Mother Goose RhymesChinese Mother Goose Rhymes
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Robert Wyndham   Illustrated by: Ed Yong

In Chinese script, as well as English, Robert Wyndham's Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes (Paper Star) is gracefully and wittily illustrated by prize-winning artist Ed Young.

Tortillitas para mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
By: Betsy L. Bucks, Sharon S. Gilbert, Laurel H. Kimball
Illustrated by: Barbara Cooney
Henry Holt

Tortillitas para mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes is a fine collection of Latin American rhymes and lullabies selected and translated by Margot Griego.

I Saw EsauI Saw Esau
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Edited By: Peter Opie    Edited by: Iona A. Opie    Illustrated By: Maurice Sendak
Candlewick Press

There probably isn't a purist who, asked about the most highly regarded verse for children, wouldn't respond (and with some fanaticism) Iona and Peter Opie's Tail Feathers From Mother Goose (Little, Brown; currently out of print). But even they will chuckle, snicker, and giggle their way through I Saw Esau, Iona Opie's more recent collaboration with Maurice Sendak. The modest editor herself calls the selections a "feast of laughter." She says "they have more oomph than zoom." It's true.

Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds) Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds)
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Geoffrey Kloske   Illustrator: Barry Blitt  
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Anne Schwartz Books/Atheneum, $15.95 (Hard Cover)   

The premise is simple: A father starts cutting a few words here and there out of his night-owl son's stories, and before you know it he has cleverly condensed each tale down to a page or less of flash fiction. Barry Blitt's offbeat ink and watercolor illustrations echo the story's tongue-in-cheek tone. Children will get a kick out of these bare-bones versions of familiar stories—and with any luck they'll tire themselves out laughing.

Nursery Tales Around the World
Ages: 4 - 9 yrs.
Illustrator: Stefano Vitale   Told By: Judy Siera  
Houghton Mifflin /Clarion Books, $20.00 (Hard Cover)   

A fine international selection of eighteen traditional tales retold with charm and elan, richly illustrated in vibrant folk art styles that reflect the country of origin.

Rose's are Red, Violet's are Blue and Other Silly Poems Rose's are Red, Violet's are Blue and Other Silly Poems
Ages: 5 - 10 yrs.
Compiled By: Wallace Tripp   Illustrator: Wallace Tripp  
Little, Brown and Company/Megan Tingley Books, $15.95 (Hard Cover)   

The nonsense verse of the book's title (no, there is no typographical error) will never be the same again after Tripp's daffy rendition, and his convincing portraits of Lewis Carroll's "slithy tove" and "Jabberwocky" are nothing short of masterful. Tripp's witty pictures reward close attention and are probably best appreciated by children over the age of five (such listeners and readers who can appreciate such gratuitous embellishments as the small sign which appears in Jabberwocky: "Please, no gambling in the wading pool"). Tripp's verse selections, too, are sophisticated and often unfamiliar-from Gertrude Stein to Artemis Ward. Certainly adults will enjoy it just as much as their kids. ( Selma G. Lanes ® 2000 Parents' Choice)

For Laughing Out LoudFor Laughing Out Loud: Poems to Tickle Your Funnybone
Ages: 5 & Up
Author: Jack Prelutsky    Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman.

As Dr. Seuss proved, singsong sounds, rhymes, and verse have ongoing appeal. None more than For Laughing Out Loud: Poems to Tickle Your Funnybone. Here are 132 of the funniest poems ever assembled, filled with the sort of zany lunacy that makes kids giggle and parents groan before laughing. Children will cackle over frogs that croak, the dog that brings in the mailman with the mail, and the little girl who learns how much easier life is when you're a slob. They'll laugh out loud at the boy who has a hot dog for a pet and at the captain who played ukulele in his underpants.

Angels Ride Bikes Angels Ride Bikes
Ages: 6 & Up
Author: Francisco X. Alarcon  
Children's Book Press, $15.95 (Hard Cover)   

Poems in Spanish and English combine with large, vivid pictures to relate a wonderful story celebrating the daily encounters of city life. The detailed illustrations are full of life.

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