From School Library Journal
PreS—This third collection by Opie and Wells includes 22 less-familiar rhymes. According to Opie's introduction, "…the little treasures in this book…are the most mysterious fragments of our shared memory." Some rhymes are silly ("Little old dog sits under a chair,/Twenty-five grasshoppers/snarled in his hair….") Others are surreal. For example, "Mother, May I?" poses the question, "Mother, may I go out swimming?," which is answered, "Yes, my darling daughter;/Hang your clothes on a hickory limb,/But don't go near the water." Meanwhile, the picture shows a little girl, waist-deep in a pool, pulling a little boat and holding a doll that looks just like the little girl, which does transform this playful verse into something, yes, mysterious. Many of the characters make multiple appearances, and many are Wells's characteristic rabbits and cats. The very nature of this book makes it a less-essential purchase than this team's My Very First Mother Goose
(1996) or Here Comes Mother Goose
(1999, both Candlewick), so possibly only larger collections or libraries with lots of Rosemary Wells fans will want it.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
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*Starred Review* In her introduction, Opie notes, "If I am Mother Goose's self-appointed treasurer, then Rosemary Wells is definitely her illuminator." Truer words were never spoken. This gem, comprising 22 tidbits from little-known nursery rhymes, shines with the charm of old-time rhymes and with Wells' beloved animal and child characters, set down in her signature style. As with familiar Mother Goose rhymes, the ones here don't always make sense, but they exude syncopated silliness and fun: "Mrs. Whirly / Mrs. Whirly sells fish, / Three ha'pence a dish; / Don't buy it, / don't buy it, / It stinks / when you fry it." What's more, the quirky nature of many of the rhymes provides a clean slate for Wells' inspired playfulness. This title joins Opie and Wells' two previous collections, My Very First Mother Goose (1996) and Here Comes Mother Goose (1999), to form a exceptional trilogy, whichgiven that Wallace Tripp's Granfa' Grig Had a Pig (1976) and Arnold Lobel's Gregory Griggs and Other Nursery Rhyme People (1978) are now hard to findwill keep Mother Goose's less-familiar rhymes alive. Like Tomie dePaola's Mother Goose (1985), this third Opie-Wells treasury of treasures is likely to become a staple in children's collections. Cummins, Julie