CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 18. . . .May 1, 2009
First published in 1994 as a 64 page book and carrying the subtitle A Canadian Sampler, Mother Goose has been republished in board book format. The most obvious difference is that the revised book is now only half the length of the original, and, as a consequence, 13 of the nursery rhymes in the 1994 publication have been eliminated. Because of the book's new board book format, there really was no place for the publisher to explain why some pieces were retained while others were excluded. The argument could be made that "My mother said," "A was an apple-pie," "When the wind is in the east" and even "Polly put the kettle on" were not among the most popular nursery rhymes, but that sort of reasoning doesn't explain why "Hoddley, poddley, puddle and fogs,' "Fishes swim in water clear" and "A robin and a robin's son" were included among the book's 15 pieces while "Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn," "Jack be Nimble" and "Three Blind Mice" were not.
As well, the 1994 volume was as much a celebration of Canada's illustrators as it was a collection of nursery rhymes, and so not only will toddlers not encounter some rhymes, but they won't be meeting the work of illustrators such as Bill Slavin, Ron Lightburn, Ian Wallace, Ange Zhang and Brenda Clark. And so the choice becomes one of choosing to see the "glass" as being half-filled or half-empty. On the one hand, the board book does not offer its listener/viewers as much as the 1994 volume, but, on the positive side, toddlers will be meeting some nursery rhymes and some illustrators in a format that is much more attuned to their level of fine motor control. Consequently, young children will be able to revisit the book's contents independently.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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