As a narrator tries to recite “Little Bo Peep,” chaos erupts.
Though it won’t be clear to readers whether Bo Peep herself or the people and animals that populate these pages are the ones causing the narrator so much angst, it likely won’t matter—they will be too busy pointing out and searching for clever references to Mother Goose rhymes hidden in the illustrations: Bo Peep’s lost sheep steal the mittens of the Three Little Kittens, an annoying fly is shooed on almost every spread (eventually to be swallowed by an old woman), and the farmer’s wife is threatening the blind mice with her knife. Very observant readers will be able to follow the individual stories of several characters as they go about their business—the kittens trying to get their mittens back, the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe shopping—but most of the illustrations reflect the hullabaloo of the subtitle. Flowers’ artwork is busy indeed—share one on one, as the pictures require poring over—but for children who stick with it, surprises abound. And for those not up to speed on their nursery rhymes, four spreads of backmatter give the text for each of the 39 rhymes along with a thumbnail illustration so readers can go back and find them.
Skip the narrator’s distraction and just enjoy all the familiar allusions. (Picture book. 4-8)