Nursery Rhyme Comics

Lynn: “Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock,” is a rhyme most of us know from childhood.  Even in today’s too-busy-to-read-world at least some nursery rhymes are passed along to children.  Nursery rhymes have never been as much fun though as in Nursery Rhyme Comics:  50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists (Roaring Brook/First Second 2011).  Face it, nursery rhymes are sometimes pretty strange but in the hands of these creative people we get a fresh new take on them.  There are many familiar rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Hey Diddle Diddle, and Rock-A-Bye Baby but there are also some I’ve never encountered before such as I Had a Little Nut Tree and Yon Yonson.  Some of the treatments are sweet and some definitely on the weird side but ALL of them are fun.  Rhymes get 1-3 pages and the book is in full glorious color.

Leonard Marcus provides a thoughtful introduction concluding with this wonderful observation:

“From each of the artists’ efforts gathered in this collection we come away not so much knowing what to think about this or that rhyme as realizing that there is no end to where our own thoughts might take us, given only the chance.”

Teachers – what a great way to kick off the start of the New Year!  Put this fabulous book on the visual presenter as it opens doors to so many paths for classroom discussion from the tradition of oral storytelling, to analysis of story arcs, to the value of divergent thinking – just to name a very few.  Then ask students to create their own comic of a nursery rhyme, folk story, fable or historical event.  Fun for all ages of readers!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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