A book of nursery rhymes for a new generation, with topical references to the world we live in.
Nursery rhymes evolved in the Western world of the 18th century, when childhood was increasingly seen as a distinct phase of life deserving of unique considerations: clothing, food, literature and entertainment. The world has continued to change since then, and Lime’s book of poetry for children, her first, attempts to keep pace. Her poems, mostly written in limerick-style verse, are outwardly simple and easily understood by young readers and listeners. There are the girl who loves shoes, the friends who encounter a bear, the boy who eats too much. But, in the back of the book, each poem also has an accompanying explanation, ostensibly directed at parents and caregivers, outlining a larger cultural significance. Sometimes, the connection between the poem and its teachable moment is strong and clear, as in the titular poem about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and in “The King’s Dream,” about the promise of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In other instances, however, the connection is a stretch. Is the poem about girls’ love for shoes—which at least on the surface seems to propound a troubling stereotype—really about dictatorial governments, with Imelda Marcos as the fall guy? But even where some connections seem tenuous, the high-quality illustrations help connect the dots. In some cases, the author includes detailed explanations about the collaborative decision-making that informed the illustrations, demonstrating some serious thought behind the seemingly simple blending of word and image. In the end, this book is bright and engaging, easy to read and a pleasure to hold and look at—with the caveat that caregivers will either want to vet it ahead of time or be certain to enjoy it alongside the young readers in their care.
Both entertaining and thoughtful, this book is a good choice for families looking to foster a sense of social conscience.