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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  289 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Month9Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Christmas in the City by Samantha ChaseMouth by Christy DilgA World of Romance by Christopher  ShieldsOnce Upon A Twisted Time by Miranda StorkGetting Lucky by Kelly Moran
Anthologies you just HAVE TO READ
24th out of 216 books — 514 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Levina  C.
Dec 01, 2012 Levina C. rated it really liked it
Great short story collection! Allegorical, interpretive, and entertaining. Except for a few confusions here and there, I enjoyed it very much. Here are my comments for each tale, in the order they are presented:

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old
Meh. Not a strong opening story. Perhaps it was because I wasn't familiar with the rhyme this one is based on, or perhaps it was a pile of rubbish.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence
Dark, haunting, and eventually rewarding: A story about the lengths a mother will go
Dark Faerie Tales
Sep 05, 2012 Dark Faerie Tales rated it liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: 22 stories (from fantasy to modern to mythology) inspired by Mother Goose Rhymes that aren’t the simple poems we think we know.

Opening Sentence: (First sentence of first story) When the girl sneaked in at midnight, he used his penlight to make a note.

The Review:

Twenty-two authors. Twenty-two stories. Twenty-two rhymes. This is an anthology of twenty-two Mother Goose Rhymes that will have you shuddering in your reading nook, crying in public
Jul 27, 2012 W rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
The stories in this dark anthology are all based on Mother Goose nursery rhymes, taking the well-known lines of our childhood and putting a frightening twist on them, telling the story behind the story. The stories range from bleak gothic literature to downright terrifying horror-movie slashers, so be prepared for mature themes such as rape, suicide, murder, and some just plain evilness.

Linking the stories together with the Mother Goose theme created an interesting set of tales, and showed the a
Adela Cacovean
This review is also featured on my blog. I received an ebook ARC of this book through NetGalley.

Bilingual review: ENG/RO


I am one of those people who sometimes get interested in a book by seeing its cover. This was the case with "Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes", and I can't say I regret my decision. It was a pleasant, interesting read most of the times.

This anthology having been written by twenty different authors, it's clear from the start that you can't
Dec 15, 2014 Angie rated it it was ok
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

I don't usually read anthologies, but I've seen this one around quite a bit and thought it sounded interesting. I love fairytale retellings, so dark retellings of Mother Goose rhymes definitely piqued my interest, even though I don't know many of the originals (they're included though!). I wasn't familiar with any of these authors, although I did recognize several names. I do think I'll check out some of their other works now that I've gotten a little taste.

Jul 25, 2012 Kwinn rated it really liked it
4.5 star. for this one :)

to tell you the truth im not a big fan of
anthologies due to some stories in it. that i want to read in series and i want to read more hahaha ..

i don't know how to start this .
hmmm .. let's start this with the foreword .
i love how the foreword written and yeah i agree with Francisco X. Stork
because parents nowadays is always on th
Jill Swanson-Diaz
(Review copy provided by NetGalley)
Beautiful and mesmerizing. This anthology is a wonderful addition to any fairy tale collection. Each story will entrap it's reader, leaving them with chills. Preceded by well known Mother Goose Rhymes, such as Little Boy Blue and Jack 'n Jill, these stories dig deep down into the darkness behind every nursery rhyme. When I was a child I had a big book of nursery rhyme favorites. I often sang them to my sisters. Reading these retellings now, I have a new perspec
Jul 01, 2013 Sam rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
You've probably read, like me, many fairytale re-tellings of Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm - well these are all Mother Goose nursery rhymes. At times with only a few lines to work with, these authors have weaved some haunting and truly imaginative re-tellings of these well known nursery rhymes.

With so many different writing styles it was hard to get absorbed in the story but at times the author was able to take me away and get totally wrapped up in their spine tingling tale of h
3.5 stars.

This collection of short stories reimagines the nursery rhymes we all grew up with, giving them a "dark" twist. I was expecting some pretty dark stories, considering how creepy some of the original rhymes are (there's lots of talk of falling and breaking bits and missing limbs and all sorts of fun). Some of the tales really delivered, and I was loving the anthology for the first half of the book, but by the end I have to say I felt rather unsatisfied.

My favourite tales were those that
Jul 26, 2012 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I truly enjoyed the stories in this anthology. Some are dark and depressing, and yet beautifully told, like "Sea of Dew" by C. Lee McKenzie and "Sing a Song of Six Pence" by Sarwat Chadda. Georgia McBride's "Little Miss Muffet" preyed on my irrational fear of spiders. I think I'm still shivering! Nancy Holder's "The Lion and the Unicorn" had me frantically looking for the second part of the story (it will be in the final version. Phew!). And a few were just downright creeptastic, like Leigh Fall ...more
Sep 19, 2012 Danielle rated it it was amazing
*Review to Come*
Jul 01, 2014 Angela rated it really liked it
Really decent set of short stories from a variety of writers. Definitely one of the better anthologies I've read. As with all anthologies though, some stories I really enjoyed, and some I thought were rather bland and forgettable, however I can't remember any being badly written, just that those stories weren't exactly for me.

My favourite stories within the collection were (in no particular order);
'Sing a Song of Six-Pence' by Sarwat Chadda.

'Wee Willie Winkie' by Leigh Fallon (my only fault wit
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
For the most part I really enjoyed this anthology. All of these authors told very interesting, creepy and highly imaginative stories. There were a few that confused me, but that was mostly because of the fact that I had never read the original rhymes they were based on and had no springboard because of it. This review will give a few insights into my opinions of the individual stories. Beware that as this was an advance copy, some of the stories that will be in the final published version were o ...more
Medeia Sharif
Oct 04, 2012 Medeia Sharif rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This collection of short stories contains tales exploring the dark side of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. There were many good ones in this. Some of my favorites include Gretchen McNeil’s “Tick Tock,” about a babysitter who’s sent to a house full of creepy children and a questionable grandfather clock, Leah Cypress’ “Clockwork” which retold Hickory Dickory Dock, and Karen Mahoney’s romantic and magical “One for Sorrow."

There were more that I liked, but I was so caught up with reading that I slack
Jami Leigh
Aug 03, 2012 Jami Leigh rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2012 Nafiza rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley, 2012

This anthology is populated by numerous stories that each take one specific Mother Goose tale and rewrite it as a YA paranormal short story. Some of these stories are more successful than others in correctly portraying the intent and feel of the original rhyme while others are more a facsimile of the original rhyme than a true retelling.

I enjoyed most of the stories. They truly are dark and do not promise a neat and tidy resolution at the end, most often having open-ended endings that could g
Dec 04, 2012 Donna rated it liked it
Anything that puts a dark twist in an otherwise more innocent tale is something that’ll be right up my demented alley and I was not left disappointed by TWO AND TWENTY although I was a bit underwhelmed. I just didn’t feel blown away by a lot of these stories and if you know the history behind some of these rhymes (like Ring Around the Rosie, for instance) it’s going to be a little weird seeing an author take the story on a completely different path. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but this is a ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Shaheen rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

An eerie collection of stories adapted from famous Mother Goose Rhymes, Two and Twenty Dark Tales gave me chills and some of the stories will haunt me for some time! It's amazing how authors have subverted the nature of the rhymes to something even darker than I could have ever imagined, and there are some stories that I wish were longer, or had full length novels accompanying them!

Very short notes on each of the stories follow:

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Oldby Nina Berry

A brilliant choi
Lisa L
Sep 26, 2012 Lisa L rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from Net Galley:
Originally, what drew me to read this anthology was author Leigh Fallon. I loved Carrier of the Mark and couldn't wait to read more of her writing!

The stories in this anthology are dark & sometimes twisted retellings of nursery rhymes we all remember from childhood. The stories are wonderful, not one leaves you bored.
This is a book I will definitely purchase a physical copy of. It is perfect for the YA readers right now who crave worlds with a supernatural t
Aug 20, 2012 Jacquelyn rated it really liked it
I was given this ARC from Netgalley, so it doesn't have all the stories that will be in the final edition. I was really excited to read this book a dark twist on Mother Gooses nursery rhymes. I loved how it was put in the foreword "The tales now contain the other side of reality, the darker side of fear. Wishes are not always fulfilled, and the security and permanence of our parents' love is no longer a sure thing." As we grow up the rhymes seem to lose their innocence not because they are any ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
When the weather starts getting colder and the leaves begin to change, I know fall is almost here. And what is a better way to bring in fall than to read Two and Twenty Dark Tales? If you thought you knew your nursery rhymes before, you were wrong.

Each story starts out with the original rhyme that the dark tale was concocted from and then delves into it's haunting rendition. The writing was exceptional and each story was completely different and unique. Some ended happy and others did not, but
Jul 19, 2012 Farrah rated it really liked it
This review also appears on my blog at http://www.thegoldenruleof666.blogspo...

I'm going to keep this short, since there really isn't much to say.

Okay, this book is wonderful. I love retellings and none of these disappointed. They were all dark and imaginative. In other words, I loved it.

If I were to say one thing against this anthology, it would be that I don't think that any one person will like every one of the short stories. Unless they are remarkably familiar with Mother Goose Rhymes. Let
Nov 11, 2012 Bookish♥Sarah rated it really liked it

Find my reviews on Blogger ~ Reviews by Bookish Sarah

- - -

As the title suggests, this book is a collection of twenty short stories; twenty dark retellings of Mother Goose rhymes. Some are darker than others, but the title is spot on, I promise you.

When I review an anthology I like to talk about my top three and my bottom three. I don't choose to review every single story, but that doesn't mean I disliked them. They just landed somewhere in the middle for me. :)

- - -

**Some spoilers ahead!**

Eustacia Tan
Aug 27, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I love fairytales and their retellings. Granted, I prefer the re-tellings with happy endings, but there's something beautiful with the sad, darker ones. This collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales takes the familiar Mother Goose rhymes and expands each of them into a short story. The advance version from NetGalley didn't have all the stories to be published, but I want to talk about some of the stories.

As Blue As The Sky And Just As Old, a re-telling of the Taffy rhyme and Sing A Song of Six Pen
Ann Sloan
Jul 30, 2012 Ann Sloan rated it it was amazing
It’s a misconception that nursery rhymes and fairy tales are for the innocent. Nursery rhymes contain a good deal of violence and mayhem; the rhymes seem to have come from a variety of sources, including traditional riddles, proverbs, ballads, lines of medieval plays, drinking songs, historical events, and, possibly, ancient pagan rituals.
There have been numerous short story anthologies and novels based on fairy tales (which also can be very violent). This book, Two and Twenty Dark Tales, edited
Sep 18, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Two and Twenty Dark Tales is a collection of background stories of different Mother Goose nursery rhymes, such as Sing a Song of Six Pence, Little Boy Blue, There Was an Old Woman, Jack and Jill, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Some of the stories were based on rhymes I'd never even heard of, and while most were dark (deliciously so) some were actually sweet in a way, and some left me confused. Some stories I didn't have a chance to review as my eARC was incomplete; the final version for sale w ...more
Jul 08, 2013 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A sucker for fairy tale retellings, this collection peaked my interest immediately. What could a group of authors come up with using Mother Goose tales for inspiration?

Evidently.... a whole lot!!

For the most part, each retelling was imaginative, dark and some incredibly creepy. These authors really did do justice to the original Mother Goose rhymes and tales, which on their own are quite dark themselves.

Some of the most memorable ones for me:

"The Well" by K.M. Walton - A retelling of Jack &
Sep 17, 2012 Vivien rated it liked it
This was an anthology with 20 tales based on Mother Goose rhymes. Some very excellent and some I didn't love. I'll share my thoughts on each short story. I did overall enjoy all these tales. Some were really dark and downright creepy while others were more of the fluffy side.

Based on eARC provided by NetGalley.

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry:
I wasn't familiar with this rhyme before reading it. It wasn't a strong beginning to the anthology. Felt cliched.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence
I decided I couldn't keep on going anymore. I don't have enough tolerance and patience. I've read 5 stories so far and none impressed me enough to encourage me to go on.

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry:
Didn't like. It's a little confusing and not that well written.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda:
I liked this! It's deliciously dark and the writing is graceful. I felt shaken a bit by the maid and her story. This one is good.

Clockwork by Leah Cypess:
A very good
Anthologies are like a sampler, an assortment of boxed chocolates. You never know what are you going to get read but you get an opportunity to taste a lot of new flavors authors. I don’t know why I did not read many anthologies before, but I must admit I am getting addicted. I got a feeling 2013 is going to be my anthology-addiction year. :)

Two and Twenty Dark Tales is an anthology of horror and paranormal stories for young adults inspired by Mother Goose Rhymes. Francisco X. Stork said it all i
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Month9Books: National Mother Goose Day is May 1 12 36 May 01, 2012 05:42PM  
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Author, crypt-explorer, bodysurfer, Nina is the author of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES and the OTHERKIN series. Born in Honolulu, she now writes for teens from her secret lair in Hollywood.

Learn more at, or you can find her on twitter @Ninaberry and on Facebook at
More about Nina Berry...

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“We are meant to be heroes. We are meant to fight witches and monsters and evil spirits, even if it appears that we will not survive the encounter. In short, we are meant to hope and to believe in the impossible. The meaning comes from the fight itself, from fighting against such great odds and such great powers, regardless of whether there is a great victory at the end, or not. Our victory is in the trying.” 7 likes
“Bad things cycle round and round. Those who were harmed seek to harm. Those who were blamed seek to blame. If we all choose to do otherwise, maybe someday it will stop.” 6 likes
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