Nursery rhymes provide playful opportunities for a diverse classroom.
Readers familiar with Codell’s work may recognize that Chavarri models the teacher character after her in the colorful, digital illustrations. The teacher greets a multiracial group of children entering her nursery school classroom in frontmatter pages. And the text begins with a brief Q-and-A: “Circle time? Yes. Playing with friends? Yes. Indoor recess? NOOOOO!” The teacher holds up a Mother Goose book to entice her disappointed charges, who stand looking out at the rain in the last part of this exchange. The subsequent double-page spread doesn’t seem quite to follow, as it first shows the “Twinkle Twinkle” rhyme and then depicts a pajama-clad black child answering “Yes” to “Window?” “Star?” “Wish?” and “NOOOOO!” to “Space aliens?” But then a page turn delivers the equivocal verdict “Well, maybe” and shows the child cavorting in a fantastic outer-space scene with extraterrestrials, spaceships, and the cow jumping over the moon. (Is this indoor recess?) The Q-and-A pattern continues with other rhymes until the book’s end, when it returns to classroom, teacher, and children, who can now go outside to play since the rain, rain’s gone away.
While there’s rhyme, this text lacks reason. (Picture book. 3-5)