Viewers can see rhymes from The Original Mother Goose online for free at and decide for themselves...



Mother Goose rhymes paired with vintage illustrations lose something in translation to an interactive format.

There’s something magical about opening an early 20th-century Volland edition of fairy tales or nursery rhymes illustrated by Richardson. The elegant, old-fashioned drawings are meticulously outlined in pen and feature a pleasing palette of colors and beautiful rural landscapes. The Original Mother Goose is a stunning classic that warrants a careful touch when converting to a new platform. Unfortunately, this particular app’s enhancements feel clumsy, out of place and sometimes jarring set against the gorgeous illustrations. Some of the pages work better than others, such as the "Dickery Dickery Dock" page, where viewers can move the clock’s hands, and the "Old King Cole" page, where the violins produce lovely sounds. Others are less successful. The front of the dog detaches disconcertingly from his back end in "Old Mother Hubbard," and Little Boy Blue's snore is more laughable than believable. The narration is a bit shrill, and the sound quality is tinny. Navigation is abetted by a pull-down bookmark in the upper corner of the pages that brings viewers back to a menu from which they can choose any of the 13 rhymes, but page turns are very slow.

Viewers can see rhymes from The Original Mother Goose online for free at and decide for themselves whether a simple, amateur reading at home can create more magic than this app. (iPad storybook app. 2-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Our House Interactive

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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