Mary Ann's Reviews > Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists

Nursery Rhyme Comics by Chris Duffy
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Nov 03, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, graphic-novels, humor
Read in November, 2011

With 50 nursery rhymes illustrated by an talented array of leading cartoonists, this book is a visual feast. Each cartoonist was asked by editor Chris Duffy to interpret a different nursery rhyme, one suited to their particular taste or style. The result is a humorous, often quirky collection of some old favorites and some lesser-known traditional rhymes. Some pairings play off the cartoonists’ reputations - Nick Bruel, well-known for his Bad Kitty series (Bad Kitty Takes a Bath, Roaring Brook, 2008) illustrates “Three Little Kittens”, with the kittens ending up eating pie with messy delight. Other artists lend thoroughly modern reinterpretations. Lucy Knisley sets “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” at “Ruth’s Rock & Roll Baby Sitting” where Ruth - a tattooed old rocker - entertains the children, inviting them to play with her band “The Whips” - and so finding a nice justification for the line “and whipped them all soundly” before she sent them to bed. While some artists take light-hearted comic approaches, as Jordan Crane does with “Old Mother Hubbard,” others choose definitely darker, more sophisticated - or perhaps even bizarre - approaches. Michael Mignola (Hellboy, Dark Horse Books, 2003) imagines “Solomon Grundy” as a wooden mannequin, full of dark tones in this refrain about a man’s sudden demise. While this collection will certainly draw in readers who already love comics, the audience is not the traditional nursery rhyme audience of preschoolers and toddlers. The rhyming and repetition of the traditional nursery rhymes, combined with the quirky, fresh illustrations, will be a perfect match for developing (and reluctant) middle grade readers. The introduction and editor’s note provide interesting information about the collection. End notes give details on each contributing illustrator.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Brenda Kahn I have this one on my pile! I bought is last Saturday at Bookfest. The editors were part of a panel that discussed the idea behind the book. It was fascinating!


message 2: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Was this middle school appropriate?


Mary Ann Yes, I think that middle school kids would have fun with it. 6th graders who love graphic novels have a wide range of styles they'll be familiar with. This will introduce them to other cartoonist they might like.

They'll also enjoy the twists that many of the cartoonists add with the illustrations. All of the nursery rhymes are there in their original, but the art adds different twists that middle school kids will enjoy.

But your question gets to the heart of my concern - what's the intended audience for this collection?


Brenda Kahn Great question, Mary Ann. The editors recently spoke about the book and while they think it should appeal to a wide audience, they specifically tasked the cartoonists to remain true to the nursery rhyme and to keep in mind a very young audience.


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