Mother Goose of Pudding Tale

Mother Goose of Pudding Lane
Chris Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky
Walker Books

How many young children know nursery rhymes in this day and age? During my time as a foundation stage teacher I discovered that when they start school, comparatively few, and of those who did the majority knew only Baa Baa Black Sheep and the first verse of Jack and Jill; yet nursery rhymes are the bedrock of literary language and help in the development of an ear for language rhythms, rhymes and much more. In my early days of teaching reading I used picture book nursery rhymes with beginning readers who soon began to match what they had in their heads with the words printed on the page.

This book, subtitled ‘A small tall tale’ explores in playful fashion possible backstories about Mother Goose and her origins with Raschka’s poetic text suggestion that one Elizabeth Foster who married Isaac Goose was the true Mother Goose persona. He goes on to provide a biographical account of this woman from the time of her courtship, her wedding and raising of a family,

(fourteen children in all and all kinds of animals) weaving into the narrative thematically organised Mother Goose rhymes, and concluding thus: ‘Elizabeth Goose, / As / Mother Goose, / Can still be heard today.’ Would that it were so, and long may her rhymes continue.

Most spreads begin with Raschka’s own words

which are followed by a tradition Mother Goose rhyme that is illustrated with Vladimir Radunsky’s gorgeous, gouache, almost hypnagogic images, while at times there are also childlike pencil scribbles scattered on the page.

Wonderfully playful and silly, its great to read aloud or to read along with and provides a trip down memory lane for adults sharing the book with youngsters.

Read to Your Baby Every Day / Hickory Dickory Dock

Read to Your Baby Every Day
edited by Rachel Williams, illustrated by Chloe Giordano
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Editor Rachel Williams has chosen thirty classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes, favourite nursery songs along with the occasional action rhyme for this collection for adult carers to share with babies.

Chloe Giordana has crafted beautiful, intricately detailed sewn accompaniments to the words using a mix of stitching and fabrics that are hand-dyed.

It’s never and I mean never, too soon to introduce babies to rhymes and songs; there’s absolutely no better way not only to bond with a little one, but it’s proven that exposure to the world around through spoken words, rhymes and songs gives young children a head start in education, and not only with respect to language learning and communication skills.

This lovely collection will introduce tinies to the likes of Hey, Diddle Diddle, Hickory Dickory Dock, Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, Humpty Dumpty

and Little Miss Muffet along with Row, Row Row Your Boat, Hush Little Baby and I’m a Little Teapot,

and even both in English and French Are you sleeping?

A lovely gift to give a new parent.

Hickory Dickory Dock
illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang
Nosy Crow

A favourite rhyme with all the nursery classes I ever taught is this one that’s now given the ‘Sing along with me!’ format characterised by sturdy sliders and peep-holes. However in addition to singing the song, little ones will love watching the escapades of the mice as the clock strikes one, then two, then three

and finally four, and discovering that by four o’clock there’s not just one but four mice tucked up in cosy beds ready for some shut-eye, having escaped the clutches of the moggy character that has been eyeing them during the past three hours.

Yu-hsuan Huang’s illustrations are a delight with plenty to interest child and adult as they share the book or perhaps listen to the recording from the scanned QR code.

Mummy! / First Words & 123

Mummy!
Lerryn Korda
Nosy Crow
What a cool idea: a lift-the-flap board book with an ancient Egyptian setting published in association with The British Museum.
A small girl has been separated from her mummy and is searching for her: “Where’s my mummy?” she asks repeatedly as she looks in various likely locations: the market, the lotus pool,

by the enormous sphinx, among the foliage by the river and in the temple.
Finally, she reaches her own home and …

With nine visual references to artefacts belonging to the British Museum, (each with an associated hieroglyph to discover), this is such a fun way to introduce very young children to history. (The final spread is devoted to photographs of these and there’s a QR code to scan for more information about the objects shown.)
Equally, with such engaging illustrations and simple repeat pattern narrative it’s also great as a beginning to read picture book.

Some interesting reissued board books are:

Alison Jay’s 123
Alison Jay’s First Words

Templar Publishing
In 123, Alison Jay uses a fairytale landscape for counting as a girl dreams that she travels upon a golden goose to different fairytale scenes.  Each new spread features a number from 1 to 10, and then counts back down to 1 again.  Observant readers will notice that on every spread, the artist includes other sets of the number featured.  She also leaves a visual clue that suggests the next spread and perhaps beyond.

First Words begins with a grandfather clock face surrounded by decorative images that point to the four seasons and to what is to follow on subsequent pages. There are visual allusions to nursery rhymes in addition to the opening Hickory Dickory Dock (yes there’s a mouse atop the clock); we see Jack and Jill climbing up the ‘hill’; while for instance, ‘hat’ and ‘fish’ allude to ‘12345 once I caught a fish alive’

The book spans a whole day, but moves through the seasons too. Featuring seemingly random objects, Jay also uses foreshadowing in this book – an added talking point for children and adults; and each page having just a single word leaves readers free to make up their own stories.
In fact I see both these not so much as concept books but as starting points for promoting talk and visual literacy.

I’ve signed the charter  

Toddler Delights

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City Block
Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo
Abrams Appleseed
In this exploration of city life, through clever use of alternating shaped and whole pages we are shown city life from subway to high rise level and everything between. The book is divided into three parts: ways of getting around, places of interest …

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and finally, things to eat. The die cut shape on the first spread suggests its fuller context when the page is turned (or opened) and this pattern is used throughout and in all, two dozen aspects of city life are featured in a whacking 96 pages. Perfectly sized for small hands, we are treated to a series of linked illustrations of what makes a city: its transport systems …

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the multitude of places to visit, food to sample …

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and all – if you really go for it – in a day …

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Goodnight, City!

I really like the way we are gradually shown smaller aspects of this sprawling metropolis – the very different places that all contribute to its fascination and excitement. What are you waiting for, go exploring …

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Hey Diddle Diddle
Happy Birthday
illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang
Nosy Crow
Littles will delight in moving the sliders and bringing to life the favourite songs in these two chunky ‘Sing Along With Me’ board books. In the first, the illustrator uses a fairground setting adding a whole cast of characters to those from the rhyme and there is plenty to talk about in the jolly scenes.

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The cow jumped over the moon.

In the second book, it’s a little rabbit that shares his birthday celebration with readers and of course, his party guests.
Because of the repetition and simple rhyming pattern, reading familiar songs (in addition to singing them) is a very good way to teach beginning reading; and the young child gradually starts to match the words on the page with those in his or her head. By scanning the QR code on the inside cover of each book, users can download an audio version to keep and sing/read along with. (Instructions are provided,)

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Eek! A Mouse Seek-and-Peek
Anne-Sophie Baumann and Anne-Kathrin Behl
Twirl Books
Talk about flap extravaganza – this surely is it – as we join a mischief of mice as they rummage, room after room, through a house, seeking paraphernalia for a party. Starting in the basement they search containers large and small. Next stop is the bedroom – ooh! some secrets here –

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then the kitchen, the bathroom, the attic and …

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What a well-organised household these mice have found. And what fun to explore it with them, opening all those boxes, cans, cabinets, tins and cases listening to their comments as they collect all manner of exciting items and have a few surprises and the odd tasty morsel too.
Comic scenes abound and this is certain to get a lot of enthusiastic handling, not to mention squeals of delight: I only hope it can stand up to the multiple readings I envisage.

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