A whimsical reimagination of the familiar nursery rhyme that celebrates creativity and exploration instead of gender stereotypes.
When a white-haired grandfather shares the well-known “sugar and spice” poem about what little girls and boys are made of, his grandchildren react to the gender stereotypes. “I don’t wear dresses,” says the older sister. “And I don’t like frogs,” grumps the brother. The grandfather then unravels the saying by exploring new ingredients for the children. “Okay, so boys are made of cookies and spice…and jump-roping mice?” The creative couplets blossom into fantastic images, with Wimmer’s illustrations leaping off the page, coaxing readers closer to inhale the details. The characters have Asian features, but little else is overtly Asian. The children imagine becoming whales and bumblebees and lemon desserts, while kitchen items serve as visual anchors. Drawn with traditional gender cues (the older sister has long hair and graceful limbs, while the tousled younger brother exudes high energy and mischievousness), this remake is still refreshingly current, allowing both children to try out different flights of whimsy as the wise grandfather and the pointy-snouted dog stand as witnesses. The last illustration is the literal unraveling of the sampler of the traditional poem that opened the book.
A celebration of imagination and the limitlessness of life. (Picture book. 4-8)