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Reviewed by:
  • Mother Goose's Little Treasures
  • Deborah Stevenson
Opie, Iona , comp. Mother Goose's Little Treasures; illus. by Rosemary Wells. Candlewick, 200756p ISBN 978-0-7636-3655-5$17.99 R 2-4 yrs

Quintessential gatekeeper of the world of nursery rhymes, Opie returns with a new collection of twenty-two compact rhymes. The selections are unusual, ranging from comparatively recent jump-rope rhymes ("Going to Kentucky") to centuries-old carols ("The Moon Shines Bright") to an authored popular song of the 1920s ("Chick Chick Chick Chick") in keeping with her observations about the breadth of youthful usage. It's too bad there are no notes to explain these varied sources (the introduction in fact misleadingly states "No one knows who wrote these snatches of song," when at least one has author and copyright date easily identifiable) and to annotate some changes from their usual appearance (who changed the song "When Cockle Shells" to the non-scanning "When the Cockle Shells"?), and musical notation would have been helpful in several cases, but the verses are a quirky and recitable crew sure to involve a young audience. Working in a shimmering palette of watercolors and relying often on delicate brushstroke patterns for texture, Wells creates a world of running human and animal characters (blue-haired Mrs. Whirly is also an actor in "Little Old Dog Sits under a Chair," for instance) who parade in together with "Here Comes Solomon" and reconvene happily in the concluding "Before It Gets Dark." To some verses she adds her own stories, for others she opts to focus on characters or elements rather than plot, but the result is both attractive and filled with character. Fans of Opie's previous nursery titles will want to add this one and broaden their horizons.



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