CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September 14, 2007
With fuel prices the way they are, the above “Baa Baa Black Sheep” excerpt is right on the mark. So it is with most of the poems in this humorous collection. Other Goose: Recycled Rhymes for Our Fragile Times contains 22 rewritten Mother Goose rhymes with a modern day, environmental twist. Humpty Dumpty contends with a polluted lake, while Jack’s friend, Jill, buys bottled water because of germs and pollution. Old Mother Hubbard receives assistance from the food bank. Little Miss Muffet nearly chokes on second-hand smoke. Nimble Jack needs to watch out for an oil slick. There are even warnings about untrustworthy politicians and crooked business people.
With her clever rhymes and humorous sketches, Barbara Wyn Klunder seems barely able to contain her own mirth. There does, however, appear to be little doubt that she has taken an approach that might best be summed up as, “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.” The precarious state of our planet has proven perfect fodder for Klunder’s creative mind and talents.
The monochromatic illustrations appear deceptively simple. Rendered in pen and ink, Klunder has created illustrations perfectly suited to the frightening environmental message that underlines much of the fun. The three dimensional appearance of the Little Piggy who went to the market (squeezed into a tiny car he couldn’t park) was borne of skillful cross-hatching and use of perspective. Other than that one, my favourite image is that of Mary Mary who really does appear QUITE contrary.
The rhyme that is accompanied by the delightful image of Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is a funny one about Mary making money from her garden. My favourite rhyme, however, is the one in which Little Bo Peep’s lost sheep is cloned.
We live in interesting times. Barbara Wyn Klunder has an interesting perspective on those times. For a fun take on troublesome issues, this is a collection worth looking into.
Gregory Bryan is a member of the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education.
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