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Nutshell Library (Nutshell Library)

4.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,851 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
This 4-volume boxed set contains an alphabet book, a book of rhymes about each month, a counting book, and a cautionary tale all written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Includes the titles Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup with Rice, One Was Johnny, and Pierre.(Titles available separately in library and paperback editions.)
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 10th 1962 by HarperCollins
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Sep 07, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing
The four books in this collection (Pierre, One was Johnny, Alligators all Around, and Chicken Soup with Rice) have really captured Paul's imagination. I hear him muttering bits of them to himself -- Chicken Soup with Rice is probably his favorite, but he can recite most of Alligators all Around. He especially likes V -- "very vain!" The only problem is the size. They're adorable, but he has reached the stage where he wants to inspect pictures very closely and the nutshellyness of this set makes ...more
May 02, 2008 Ycart6 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Ycart6 by: Matthew Chan
These books are great! The rhymes are simple and catchy. There is a moral to every story, and a three year old will sit through all four. When Matthew and I read Pierre, I have Matthew read the "I Don't Care" part. Hmmm...maybe that wasn't such a good idea, Matthew went through an "I don't care" phase when his parents first started reading him the books. I guess he's over it, but he still likes to read the "I don't care" part. Sendak really caught the essence of imagination combined with simplic ...more
May 19, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Oh, how I loved this little boxed set. I reviewed the books individually at an earlier date. But it is worth noting that beyond the books themselves there was something so wonderful about owning the entire set. The child-sized box, taking the treasured books out and admiring their covers, deliberating about which volume to read first, that satisfying snap when all four books were safely back in place and ready to be toted around. Ah, life's simple pleasures!
Apr 15, 2008 Ragan rated it really liked it
Great collection of books by the author of Where the Wild Things Are. In particular the story of Pierre causes on to think "Where could I get my hands on a lion in order to help my child have a complete attitude change?"
Jul 07, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
This has been read many many times in our house. Whenever anyone says "I don't care" they immediately get called "Pierre". Wonderful
Aug 25, 2012 Ivan rated it it was amazing
Adorable box set of tiny nutshell library by the great Sendak - had to add this to my kid lit bookshelf.
Hailey White
Jul 07, 2015 Hailey White rated it it was amazing
Perfect for the toddler in your life! Although my 9 year old and I love them too. Pierre and Chicken soup with a Rice are our favorites.
Nov 02, 2011 Vivian rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
We based our story times this week on Sendak's "Nutshell Library" which consists of 4 hand-sized concept books.

Alligators All Around -- an A B C book featuring an alligator family bursting balloons, catching colds, doing dishes, entertaining elephants, etc. For purposes of story time the pictures were enlarged.

One Was Johnny -- a Counting book featuring Johnny who lived by himself. The story builds one character and event at a time, such as the house that Jack built. By the time there are nine v
Kyounga Kim
Oct 16, 2015 Kyounga Kim rated it it was amazing
When I brought this book at home, my all family wants to keep it. Everyone who like miniature must be fascinated by this book. The size of this book is smaller than your palm. This 4-volume boxed set contains an alphabet book, a book of rhymes about each month, a counting book, and a cautionary tale all written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Includes the titles Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup with Rice, One Was Johnny, and Pierre. My favorite is Pierre. It consists of five chapters and a ...more
Kelsey Hoban
Apr 29, 2014 Kelsey Hoban rated it it was ok
Nutshell Library is another classic Maurice Sendak book that is full of fun lessons, activities and stories. THis collaborative book is great of the younger reader! IT is so fun to read because it has multiple parts to it inside the covers. It contains an alphabet book, a book full of rhymes about each month of the year and even includes a cautionary tale. I thought this book was a very interesting compilation of different types of wiring. NOt only is it fun for younger children but it also teac ...more
May 01, 2010 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: preschool-set
These are a favorite from my childhood. I love "Alligators all Around", "Pierre: A Cautionary Tale", and "Chicken Soup with Rice" set to music. Wonderful to be able to share these with my kids, especially when Pierre, sung by Carole King...

"[He:] rubbed his eyes, and scratched his head
And laughed because he wasn't dead.
His mother cried and held him tight.
His father asked 'Are you all right?'
Pierre said 'I am feeling fine,
Please take me home, it's half past nine,'
The lion said, 'If you woul
May 10, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-ever
Also make sure to listen to the CD "Really Rosie" by Carole King.

"Pierre" is one of the best stories ever, and includes the lines (after cold and uncaring Pierre has been rescued from a lion's belly):

"He rubbed his eyes, and scratched his head
And laughed because he wasn't dead.
His mother cried and held him tight.
His father asked 'Are you all right?'
Pierre said 'I am feeling fine,
Please take me home, it's half past nine,'
The lion said, 'If you would care
To ride on me, I'll take you there'
And ever
May 22, 2008 Maria rated it liked it
I feel very sentimental about this set of books. It comes as a set of four tiny books in a box. I also had these books on tape growing up which made them even more enjoyable. The worst of the set is the counting book "One Was Johnny" but that may be an unfair assessment because I seem to have lost the first four pages. The best is the months of the year book "Chicken Soup with Rice" which has a positively addictive rhyme scheme. Individually I would score the books from 1 to 5 stars but I took a ...more
RJ McGill
Oct 14, 2012 RJ McGill rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
There's nothing on earth that compares to the moments spent snuggled up with my granddaughter reading these little books. Her bright blue eyes widening when the rhyming catches her funny bone! I treasure this time ... Stolen away from our hectic, busy, rush rush lives... These are the memories that stay with us and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Sharing "Nutshell Library" is more than reading a cute book - it gives us a chance to bond with our little ones, recall our own childhood memories, a ...more
Jobiska (Cindy)
Apr 23, 2012 Jobiska (Cindy) rated it it was amazing
Okay, usually I don't add both a collected set of books and its components separately, because to me it's sort of "cheating." But the minute I saw this on one of the listopia lists, I had to add it, because my childhood memories of this darling little sleeve with the darling little books in it came rushing back. My experience of the Nutshell Library was a separate thing from my experience of the individual books! And, to be fair, I'm almost certain I had at least one, perhaps two, of the little ...more
Madison Godfrey
Apr 30, 2014 Madison Godfrey rated it liked it
That childrens book is a multi-functional book. It contains an alphabet book, a book about each month full of rhymes and counting. It also includes a cautionary tale. This would be a great story for a younger classroom teaching the alphabet and life lessons. I really enjoy reading Sendaks books because of how detailed and interesting his illustrations are. This is a great book because of the different educational aspects to it. It not only helps kids with the alphabet but it also helps them to l ...more
May 21, 2012 g0rd0 rated it it was amazing
I'm adding these books because they are my first recollection of reading myself. And I've got to tell you that the similarity between myself and Pierre cannot be a coincidence. I have stolen his line ever since I read the book at probably six. All my life I have given a spontaneous response of "I don't care" to a myriad of situations. Mr. Sendak's recent demise made me remember why and solidified in my mind where it comes from. Personally I think it has served me well.
Where "Chicken Soup for the Soul" got started! "Pierre: A Cautionary Tale" is one of my all-time favorites. The Lion represents society, and Pierre repeats, "I don't care" over and over until the Lion (society) literally devours him. Whenever my boys say, "I don't care" in that tone of voice, I find myself quickly reminding them about what happened to Pierre. And "Chicken Soup With Rice" is always comforting. Excellent Illustrations.
Jul 03, 2008 Val rated it it was amazing
These books, all tiny (about 3 inches tall), are favorites in our family. They are a perfect size to fascinate small children and the stories are hilarious. " Pierre, a cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue" is as much fun for adults as it is for children. Told in rhyme and illustrated perfectly, it was our favorite. But "Aligators All Around, an hilarious alphabet book, and "Chicken Soup with Rice", a calendar poem, are almost as good.
Feb 10, 2012 Terri rated it it was amazing
There is something so appealing and intimate about a tiny book, undoubtedly because the small size necessitates "up close and personal" sharing. These four titles are forever entwined with memories of snuggling close with my daughter as we delighted in Pierre's cautionary tale, alphabetical alligators, counting up and down with Johnny, and a year of chicken soup with rice. These are precious memories, and just the sight of this mini set makes me smile.
Mar 07, 2008 Mehgun rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
As a child, these must have been some of my favorite books. They were really tiny, which made me feel like a giant when reading them. Nestled into a tiny box, I always felt like I had a special treasure when I held these books. Chicken Soup With Rice was my favorite, and I read it over and over. So many fond memories of childhood are brought to mind with this set.
Jonathan Dearborn
Apr 05, 2013 Jonathan Dearborn rated it it was amazing
The 1st book I loved to almost death, well collection of books. Every Child, everywhere should own this small set of SUCH IMPORTANT, Moral Tales. Well made, Bound great, lovely Illustrations in color. If u need to buy a child a gift, and they are just reading or have been for a year, buy them this. You will both love them!! Chicken Soup With Rice, Pierre, all found within.
Nov 29, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
Growing up, my sister had the Nutshell Library on the bookshelf that was just inside the doorway of her room. I used to sit on the floor there and read them. I was always jealous that they were hers. When she moved to the west coast after college and didn't think to pack the collection with her, I decided it was time to claim them as MINE. Best little books ever.
Aug 06, 2007 Malbadeen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people that love little books
Shelves: picture-books
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pierre and if this little collection. He's so freakin stubborn he gets eatin by a Lion - Ha! I hear ya Pierre, I hear ya! I also rember Carole King belting out "Really Rosey" to the film strip - The storm was scary, the voice was raspy and the words were true: Damn! That's some good shit!
Jan 24, 2010 Winslow rated it it was amazing
Chicken Soup with Rice is the current favorite. You like to chant "chicken soup with rice." You always want to turn to the March page with the wind blowing down the door, whose violence slightly scares you. When you heard a song about a robin, you remembered the robin who concocts soup in his nest. You call the "goblin" on the first page a lion.
Oct 09, 2008 Tyler rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tyler by: My mother
This is the first time where I've known every single word to a book (or, four, really) before actually reading it. I used to check out the "Really Rosie" TV special from the video section of the downtown library all the time, and later, I bought the Carole King soundtrack to said TV special. (It's totally the best thing Carole King ever did.)
May 28, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Eating chicken soup with rice! Pierre, the kid who doesn't care till a lion eats him! A, alligators all around and B, bursting balloons! One was Johnny who lived by himself! It doesn't get any better than this. Plus, the books are MINI and come in their own little bookshelf. Love, love!
Aug 30, 2007 Landismom rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with kids, soup-lovers
Shelves: kid-lit, favorites
I remember the "Chicken Soup with Rice" as one of the fondest books of my childhood. We must have lost all the others in this set, because the book looked exactly the same, but I have no memory of Pierre or the Alligators.
May 03, 2010 Alisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids
My parents got this little series for my sister and I when we were little kids. We LOVED these, and many many years later discovered that my parents kept this little treasure on their bookshelf all these years. Clever little stories illustrated beautifully.
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Maurice Bernard Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. An elementary school (from kindergarten to grade five) in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Wal
More about Maurice Sendak...

Other Books in the Series

Nutshell Library (4 books)
  • Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue
  • Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
  • One Was Johnny: A Counting Book
  • Alligators All Around

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