HEY, DIDDLE, DIDDLE

A CHILDREN’S BOOK OF NURSERY RHYMES

This collection of nursery rhymes amazes in its comprehensiveness; favorites like the title rhyme and “London Bridge Is Falling Down” as well as relative unknowns are included here, all illustrated in fascinating three-dimensional collage incorporating paint, clay, and other items. Over 60 rhymes appear, sometimes three to a page, resulting in a design that’s a bit crowded, but readers young and old will appreciate the sheer number. No one will get bored, even after multiple readings; it may even be more fun to open this at random and read only a few rhymes at a time than to read through from start to finish. The virtually tactile illustrations provide appealing accompaniment to the rhymes; bright colors add an especially fanciful note: Old Mother Hubbard’s dog is adorned with purple spots, and cheerful greens, yellows, pinks, and oranges feature prominently in every spread. The most successful spreads are those featuring only one rhyme: the giant, pink-cheeked, purple-spotted cow flying across a baby blue sky with an orange cat on her back on the “Hey, Diddle, Diddle” page is remarkably striking. The clay figurines and textured brushstrokes resemble folk art and suit the topic of nursery rhymes perfectly, since the rhymes themselves are a form of folklore. Nursery rhymes are perennial favorites: this compendium is more complete and more charmingly illustrated than most. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8050-6754-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it...

FEAR THE BUNNY

A tiger can’t believe it’s being upstaged in this picture-book riff on William Blake’s famous poem.

A group of zoologically diverse animals huddle around a fire, listening to a porcupine read from a chilling poem: “Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, / in the forests of the night—.” An incredulous tiger interrupts, saying that the poem is actually about it. But a squirrel matter-of-factly states that “Here, it’s ‘bunnies, bunnies.’ ” The tiger still doesn’t understand why the animals would be so afraid of bunnies but not afraid of tigers and tries to explain why it, an apex predator, is far more threatening. The smaller animals remain unimpressed, calmly telling the tiger that “In this forest, we fear the bunny” and that it should “Hide now, before it’s too late.” An amusing and well-done premise slightly disappoints at the climax, with the tiger streaking away in terror before a horde of headlamp-wearing bunnies, but eager readers never learn what, exactly, the bunnies would do if they caught up. But at the end, a group of tigers joins the other animals in their awestruck reading of the adapted Blake poem, included in full at the end. Cute, fuzzy illustrations contrast nicely with the dark tone and forest background.

A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it overcomes a weak conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7800-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

TEENY TINY GHOST

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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