The simple old nursery rhyme is given vibrant life in this incandescent concept book. Hines, a gifted quilt artist, illustrates with her fabric art. Each number gets a full page: Numeral, background and frame appear in different fabrics, and embroidery, fancy stitching, rickrack and buttons (one for each number, adding a counting element) decorate. Some of the buttons are star- or heart- or flower-shaped; many of the fabrics are also patterned with flowers, stripes and geometrics in splendid saturated colors that pop off the paper. A small girl in star-covered overalls (and red shoes with buckles, of course) performs the actions indicated by the rhyme. This version ends with “My big fat hen!”—readers see the hen and child playing tug-o-war with a woolen thread. The last spread shows all the numbers one to ten, outlines of children’s hands and that array of buttons, one atop each digit allowing readers to count one, then two, then three, all the way up to ten. Joyous and great fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206305-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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This mix of clever poems, handsome art and well-chosen typography, despite a few minor flaws, will function equally well for...


This third pairing of Elliott’s reductive poems and Meade’s bold woodcut-and-watercolor illustrations dives deep to explore sea creatures, from tiny shrimp to the mighty blue whale.

Elliott’s poems are short and pithy, often combining elegant metaphor and child-friendly diction.  “Five fingers, / like a hand, / the starfish shines / in a sky of sand.” He doesn’t shy from big words that expand children’s imaginations and vocabularies: An octopus is “an eight-armed apparition.” Humorous touches pleasantly conjure Douglas Florian’s poetry.  The puffer fish is “A trickster. / A clown. / A magician. / A buffoon. / One minute / she’s a fish; / the next, / she’s a balloon.” Meade’s pictures combine appropriately watery washes with black-inked woodcuts. She conjures the “before” and “after” capabilities of said puffer fish, and her Moray eel undulates fearsomely. Not every spread is completely successful. “The Clown Fish” riffs on inter-species symbiosis, but Elliott stumbles with the possessive phrase “its enemies”—inviting confusion as to whether anemone stings its own enemies, or the clown fish’s. Meade’s shark, possibly a great white, prominently sports stylized throat grooves that more resemble several species of whale.

This mix of clever poems, handsome art and well-chosen typography, despite a few minor flaws, will function equally well for bedtime sharing and early-learning settings. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4498-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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An engaging, lively addition to the Mother Goose canon.


Who wouldn’t want to gallivant with Mother Goose?

Chanting the classic nursery rhyme “Girls and Boys Come Out To Play,” that esteemed avian invites a bevy of kids from a city neighborhood to leave their homes and join her for an evening of merriment. The racially diverse, pajama-clad, stuffed-animal–toting children eagerly accept the invitation, accompanied by some dogs and cats. Whom do these adventurers meet on their nighttime jaunt? Why, none other than some of Mother Goose’s most famous characters, including Old King Cole, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, the fiddling cat from “Hey Diddle Diddle,” and the three men in the tub. After some playtime and a filling repast they help prepare, the kids are more than ready for Mother Goose to lead them home to bed; the exhausted, happy wanderers are last seen all comfortably tucked in, live and toy pets in tow. Text is kept to a minimum on spreads, and the old-fashioned language of the brief narrative is charming. The cheery, bouncy text of the rhyme could turn out to become a favorite of young readers/listeners sitting in laps or hearing this in group sessions. The loose pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations suit the action well, suggesting energetic movement and lighthearted activity. A “cast of characters” is identified at the beginning of the book. Front and rear endpapers each include eight well-known Mother Goose rhymes. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 64% of actual size.)

An engaging, lively addition to the Mother Goose canon. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4713-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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