Eighteen (mostly) familiar favorites serve as a board-book introduction to some classic rhymes for toddlers and a refresher for caregivers.
Such childhood favorites as “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as well as action rhymes including “Pat-a-Cake” and “I’m a Little Teapot” are included. The first song featured is “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” but in this version, the farm has only cows and pigs. Most of the rhymes are similarly abbreviated, usually including just the best-known stanza—an understandable editorial choice given the attention spans of toddlers. Other choices are more puzzling. “Seesaw, Margery Daw” is seldom heard in the United States today, perhaps because of its origin as a taunt. “Red Sky at Night” uses the British version, with a shepherd (a bear in a kaffiyeh) delighting and taking warning instead of a sailor. The text refers to the “Three Blind Mice” having their tails cut off, but in the pictures, the cartoon mice sport stereotypical shades and intact tails. “Goosey, Goosey, Gander,” originally meant to warn against Catholic “left-footers,” is presented as a simple nonsense verse. This darker history is cheerfully ignored in Delahaye’s whimsical illustrations, borrowed from her children’s-wear designs.
The pastel tones may not hold a baby’s attention, but caregivers and toddlers should enjoy the interaction and wordplay. (Board book. 2-4)