MARY MIDDLING AND OTHER SILLY FOLK

NURSERY RHYMES AND NONSENSE POEMS

Fyleman, best known in the US for her poem “A Fairy Went A-Marketing,” was a well-known children’s writer and editor in England in the first decades of the 20th century. This volume of her original nursery rhymes includes 20 of her rhyming poems taken from a larger collection published in 1931. Included is her widely anthologized poem about mice, as well as short, humorous rhymes about farm animals and colorful characters such as Mary Middling, Lanky Lawrence, and a purple-clad witch who drinks “vinegar, blacking, and good red ink” (labeled as poison in the illustration) while she flies. Several of the rhymes have some British vocabulary (marmalade, treacle, washing peg) or rhyming pairs requiring British pronunciation that will be puzzling to children without adult interpretation. The heavily outlined illustrations have a flat, naïve style suited to old-fashioned nursery rhymes, with cobblestone streets, aproned farm girls, and tidy villages. All in all, the rhymes aren’t particularly funny or memorable—a middling sort of collection in a crowded genre. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2004

ISBN: 0-618-38141-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2004

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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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For the youngest of unicorn fanatics; others may want to look for their magic elsewhere.

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, UNICORN

A young unicorn frolics with friends and family to the tune and lyric structure of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Predictably, the singable text reads: “Twinkle, Twinkle, unicorn, / sparkle with your magic horn. // Leaping over clouds so high, / like a diamond in the sky.” Each double-page spread shows the titular creature, yellow and with a rainbow mane, tail, and horn, leaping over rainbows, cavorting with bumblebees, and dancing with a pink bunny, among others. As night falls, the unicorn enjoys a story from what are likely parental figures, an older pink unicorn sporting a necklace and a blue unicorn with bow tie (it seems gender stereotypes exist among legendary creatures, too). Waring’s childlike art is a candy-colored explosion, with big-eyed critters, both legendary and real, all with chunky, toddler-esque physiques. While the verse is nothing new (“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” has arguably been rewritten more than any other children’s song) and there is little substance, it scans and sings relatively easily. Youngsters will be drawn to the sparkly rainbow on the cover.

For the youngest of unicorn fanatics; others may want to look for their magic elsewhere. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3973-3

Page Count: 7

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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