Reviews for My Very First Mother Goose


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 1999
/*Starred Review*/ Ages 1^-4. With the same combination of warmth and wickedness that made My Very First Mother Goose (1996) such fun for young preschoolers, folklorist Opie and illustrator Wells have collected another 55 nursery rhymes in a splendid, large-size companion volume. As Opie says in her brief, beautiful introduction, Mother Goose collected nonsense, clever riddles, and "the songs that run in people's heads and make them skip instead of walk." There are old favorites as well as some lively traditional verses that will be new to most kids and the adults who read to them. And there are a few changes for the millennium: Opie reverses the rhyme about what little girls and little boys are made of, and Wells shows them all having fun. Take a new look at Mary, Mary, who really is quite contrary in Wells' mischievous view. The pictures include a few people, but most of the characters are animals: ducklings, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and the soft, sleepy "donkey, donkey, old and gray." There is yearning and mystery: a young girl ignores her mother's warning, jumps on a horse, and is lured away to the dark woods. In contrast, there's the furry guinea pig with a plate of hot-cross buns in front of the fireplace, snug at home. Best of all, though, is the double-page spread with a curt verse and a large picture of one mean, messy rabbit: "I'm Dusty Bill / From Vinegar Hill / Never had a bath / And I never will." ((Reviewed October 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
Sixty-eight rhymes have been selected with parents, babies, and toddlers firmly in mind. The book is not a definitive Mother Goose, with familiar rhymes such as Old Mother Hubbard missing and less familiar ones included, and there are no footnotes or sources. But as a first Mother Goose, the book does its job superbly, and central to its success are Wells's cozy and appealing illustrations. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #6
Illustrated by Rosemary Wells. What can be said about yet another Mother Goose book? Quite a lot in this case. The book is not a definitive Mother Goose, with familiar rhymes such as Old Mother Hubbard missing and less familiar ones included, and there are no footnotes or sources. But as a first Mother Goose, the book does its job superbly. Sixty-eight rhymes have been selected with parents, babies, and toddlers firmly in mind. The book is oversized yet perfect for lap holding, and the rhymes are attractively placed on each page and nicely placed throughout the book so as not to overwhelm parents and babies with too many images and too much black type. Central to the success of the book are Rosemary Wells's illustrations. The orange-gold cover shows Mother Goose as a large, white, cap-bedecked goose standing on a blue-checkered border that will attract parents and grandparents who may remember Blanche Fisher Wright's edition from their own childhoods. Riding on Mother Goose's back, however, are four of Wells's signature animals - a gray kitten, brown bear, black rabbit, and tiny tan mouse - looking hopefully at the viewer in invitation and anticipation. The checkered border is picked up throughout the book to provide a nice cohesion. The first rhyme is an appropriately familiar "Jack and Jill," and the final "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, / Hold my horse till I leap on," provides a quiet good night. Unlike some editions of Mother Goose that crowd many rhymes within the pages, these rhymes are leisurely paced. While some human characters appear, Well's lively animals are the most well delineated and appealing. A tiny mouse under the Queen's chair sticks its tongue out at Pussycat; an elegant hog rides home from market in an open limousine. Throughout the book familiar characters reappear to connect the rhymes and give parents and babies more chances to interact with the pictures. We know that the interaction that takes place between parent and baby over the pages of a good book is a primary factor in literacy learning, and My Very First Mother Goose makes such important work pure joy. barbara kiefer Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 September
~ My Very First Mother Goose ($19.99; Sept. 1996; 108 pp.; 1-56402- 620-5): One glimpse of the merry Wells (The Language of Doves, p. 1159, etc.) characters that caper through these pages--a cast of hundreds--one flip through the pages where Opie (I Saw Esau, 1992, etc.) has arranged almost 70 familiar and not-so-familiar rhymes to an effect of unabashed glee, and readers will be in love again with the original Mother Goose. There's little point in pretending that even prodigious collections of nursery rhymes can do without this one--it's a must. (index) (Poetry. 2-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 August #1
In this exuberant anthology, Opie and Wells choose the best of Mother Goose's ageless work and polish it to a brilliant shine: more than 60 rhymes appear here in four chapters of large, toddler-friendly type. And for those who thought there were no new feathers to be plucked from this goose, Wells's rich watercolor interpretations, simultaneously classic and contemporary, are a revelation. Readers will probably agree with Opie's prefatory remark: "I firmly believe that Rosemary Wells is Mother Goose's second cousin and has inherited the family point of view." Her cast of bushy bunnies (think Max and Ruby), classy cats and the occasional human interact with a combination of wit, charm and ingenuity: Humpty Dumpty, for example, is a soft-boiled egg, knocked accidentally-on-purpose to the floor by a boy bunny at the breakfast table. Also striking?and appropriate for the intended audience?are the numerous scenes of adults and children working and playing together. The cozy, well-appointed settings and loving gestures project a reassuring intimacy. Wells also makes full use of an extended trim size. She encircles rhymes with spots of art, as in the Hungarian-style cat violinists that surround the text of "Hey diddle, diddle," or embellishes spreads with panels, identifying pig breeds in her depiction of "Whose little pigs are these?" and naming a few constellations alongside "Star light, star bright." Each rhyme begins with a sprightly decorated initial: a golden pear hangs from the "I" in "I had a little nut tree." Motifs recur subtly and purposefully, encouraging close inspection of the pages. A collaboration that both freshens and preserves the past, this volume deserves a prominent place not just in the nursery room but on the shelves of all who treasure illustrated books. Ages 2-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 October
PreS-K The 60 plus rhymes in this collection are mostly the old-time favorites, but include some more recent ones such as "Shoo Fly" and "Down by the Station." Wells illustrates the selections with her usual winsome, quirky, anthropomorphic mice, rabbits, cats, pigs, bears, etc., and even includes some people. The lavish ink-and-watercolors are filled with action and delightful details. Ranging in size from tiny vignettes to double-page spreads, they are arranged on the pages in a variety of ways to complement the text. The typeface is large and very clear. Such a spirit of fun and pleasure emanates from every page of this big, handsome volume that although there are many distinguished entries in the nursery-rhyme book field, this one is sure to add special joy to any collection. Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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