CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 9 . . . . November 2, 2012
Most young children love to sing the traditional nursery rhyme about the tenacious little spider that won't let a rain shower deter him from climbing up the eavestrough's downspout. Reteller Magee and illustrator make this four sentence rhyme available in an illustrated form. The final page of the first of the book's two rhymes repeats the words to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" while challenging emergent readers: "Can you point to the rhyming words?"
The author/illustrator pair then introduce a "new" nursery rhyme, one that parallels the original. The situation is most appropriate for Canadian readers as the little beetle, which is playing on an external wall, is buffeted by snow and falls to the ground. As occurred with the first poem, this one concludes by reproducing all the words to Itsy Bitsy Beetle on a single page while offering the same rhyming words challenge.
The book's penultimate page, labelled "Puzzle Time!", presents five weather scenarios and asks readers to identify "What kind of weather is each picture showing?" The final pages offers "Notes for adults" who will be using this book with their young charges as well as the answer key for the weather quiz.
Part of Crabtree's "Tadpoles Nursery Rhymes" series that is directed at emergent readers, this slim book, with its brief text and cartoon-like illustrations, should find a ready audience. As well, the book could be used in a creative writing class involving older students as an example of how familiar nursery rhymes can be rewritten.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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