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Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  160 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Some children are simply too naughty for Mother Goose to handle. Luckily her sister Spinster Goose knows just how to deal with these uncouth urchins. Her school is home to some world-class troublemakers: they bite and pinch, they talk back and fight--they eat chalk! But brats beware--this isn’t just any school, and Spinster isn't your average goose. Her curious methods wil ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Rating details
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Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: I'll read anything Sophie Blackall illustrates.
Shelves: lawsonland, poetry
Well, first of all, I love Sophie Blackall. Secondly, I thought the kids would enjoy this naughty twist. I was right. This book was in use (see below) constantly for the entire month.

Classroom Connection
As an educator, one of my goals is for my students to experience poetry in a way that will help them understand how to read it and learn to love it. I want my students to learn to read poetry for pleasure. I did not learn to love poetry until I was in college working on my minor in English Liter
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ncbla
Since some children are too difficult for the sweet-natured Mother Goose to handle, she sends these scoundrels to her sister, the much stricter Spinster Goose. The twenty-seven nursery rhymes that follow the misbehaving children are all, indeed, twists on the familiar Mother Goose rhymes. These aren't sweet little stories, but the author's own take on what should happen to those who don't know how to behave. There is much to enjoy in this collection as Bobby Shaftoe, Jack and Jill, and even Baa ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
When children are too naughty to learn from Mother Goose, she sends them to her sister, Spinster Goose. Spinster Goose is the head master of her very own school. She runs a tight ship and delivers harsh consequences. The verses paint a vivid picture of how the students and staff carry out their days at the school for naughty children.

The verses are humorous and the illustrations pair well but there are some stereotypes and generalizations made that don't account for the many factors that contrib
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
This is a wickedly funny collection of twised nursery rhymes. Elementary school-age children are sure to love these unusual takes on classic mother goose rhymes. Some of the poems are obviously tied to the original poems, and others are quite original. The illustrations are colorful and hilarious, complementing the poems nicely. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s, 2011, picture
I loved nursery rhymes as a child and Sophie Blackall, the illustrator, is one of my favorites!

That being said, this is a strange collection of twisted nursery rhymes and I have to say that I'm not sure that it's really appropriate for a K-5 audience. Mother Goose sends "uncouth urchins" to her sister, Spinster Goose, so she can whip them into shape. Each nursery rhyme describes what happens to the naughty children. For example, Baa Baa Black Sheep because 'The Swearer,' a sheep who bleats until
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very clever. Very.

Children who are familiar with common Mother Goose-style nursery rhymes (think: Jack and Jill, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Georgie Porgie, and others) will recognize their "naughty" counterparts in this well written companion. The naughty behaviors of these dastardly children include such evils as gum-chewing, being VERY dirty, and others. Illustrations offer dark humor as well that are the perfect complement.

In short, children who enjoy dark comedy, enjoy wordplay and recognizing
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Like all my poetry collections, Spinster Goose is intended for children in 3rd thru 6th grade.
Yes, I use sophisticated language.
Yes, I use somewhat dark humor.
Yes, Sophie Blackall's art is amazing!

My goal, in writing this, was to pay homage to my first reading love--Mother Goose.
But my take on it is not for the very young. Not many 5 year olds would get the jokes or the language.
I am not trying to impart any 'lessons'. I am not a teacher or a preacher. I am a writer and I loved writing this
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children by Lisa Wheeler (2011)
Children's Rhymes, parodies
Plot summary: Traditional Mother Goose nursery rhymes are rewritten, depicting unruly students attending the school of Spinster Goose.
Considerations or precautions for readers advisory: No special considerations
Review citation (if available):Kirkus Reviews , 2/15/2011, Vol. 79 Issue 4, p337-337, 1/4p
Section source used to find the material: School Library Journal review
Recommended age: Ages 7
David Turner
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edrd314
A wonderful book to read with children! This book gives the classic Mother Goose fairy tales that every child has grown up with a twist to the traditional story. This book is inventive and children love hearing the retelling of classic fairy tales with new protagonists and antagonists and story lines. Reading this book after refreshing your memory with the classics, that this book is based off of, allows the reader and audience to compare and contrast the classic tale with the new, twisted tale.
Jan 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
I usually love this kind of thing (George who played with a dangerous toy & suffered a catastrophe of considerable dimensions by Hilaire Belloc is one of my favorites) but this was just, well, flat. The crimes were sketchy (poor hygiene, okay; fibbing & stealing, absolutely; but hair twirling?). It isn't colorful or exciting enough to hold a child's interest or useful enough for a teacher or parent.
Paula Gallagher
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sophie Blackall remains one of my favorite illustrators; the success of the rhymes are dependent upon her pale, ghastly children. This is not for the little ones--fans of Edward Gorey will rejoice.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Clever twists on nursery rhymes about bad habits children have.
Humorous way to think about things that happen in a typical elementary school.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I liked the premise of this collection of twisted nursery rhymes-- that naughty children are sent to Spinster Goose's school for punishment. Some of the rhymes described life in the school, while others described some of the naughty students. What I expected was poems about how each of these naughty children get their punishment or learn their lesson at this school, but that only happened in a few poems. I think that's why I was disappointed with the book as a whole. I did particularly like a fe ...more
Kristen Jorgensen
Aug 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
I didn't think the art was extraordinary and it didn't even seem to inspire. Where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory takes a bad habit and in a humorous style raises awareness or even sparks change in children, Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children seems to be just a bit-- blah. Maybe it's just not my style, or perhaps it went just a little to far. Either way I can live without this book on my shelf.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: illustrated
This is a book that's better in theory than execution. Blackall's illustrations are excellent, as always, but the book doesn't hang together, at least not as a children's book. Yes, it's yet another "picture book for adults." It reminded me a lot of Tim Burton's The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories, another book of dark rhymes (although Spinster Goose wasn't as original.)
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I didn't really enjoy the poems here, but I can see a possible use in secondary creative writing classrooms, where an instructor might have students read these poems, then write a "twisted" rhyme of their own based on another Mother Goose rhyme. However, I think he/she would definitely have to spend some time introducing the class to the original rhymes, because most of today's kids don't know the Mother Goose rhymes. That said, the humor here would be lost on them without prior instruction.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Spinster Goose runs a school for naughty children. These poems inspired by nursery rhymes describe the naughty things the children do—and usually the punishment/consequence, too. I think these would be perfect for second- or third-graders. My four-year-old hasn't started school yet so I skipped some of them as I didn't want him to think that being naughty is cool or that he needs to be afraid of his teachers.
This book made me physically uncomfortable at times. I personally have a low tolerance for gross things, so I suppose the author/illustrator did their jobs well! I thought a few of the scenarios within were a bit...well, yucky. This is just my reaction though. Having worked in a school, I can say with 100% confidence that there are kids who would absolutely devour this book about yucky naughty children!
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: parodies
So I really really wanted this to be amazing and it was just kind of meh. So it's a book of Mother Goose rhymes turned on their heads, where the children are all bad and Spinster Goose (mother's sister) punishes them. Some of the ryhmes; the Introduction, Spinster Goose, The Thief, Student of the Week, The Ditchers, The Bully really worked for me. Others just kind of fell flat. Either the rhyme schemes were off or something in the rhyme felt dumb rather than funny and it just didn't work.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Genre: Poetry
Copyright: 2010
Thoughts: Very funny set of poems about what Spinster Goose does to misbehaving students. All of the usual Mother Goose characters are included (Jack Sprat, Humpty Dumpty, etc). Humor is a little complicated for younger readers, but they'd probably still enjoy the naughty children theme anyhow.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This will probably appeal to Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, dark humor types, but even then I don't know that it is suitable for younger readers. I found some of the rhymes (Baa Baa Black Sheep) entertaining and funny, but I can think of more kids who would be frightened or confused by these rhymes than I can who would like them.
May 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I can't decide if I liked this book or not. It's dark rhymes about famous Mother Goose characters are smart and witty, but kind of depressing (the characters are all very naughty and incarcerated in a juvenile detention-style school). It has fantastic illustrations. I might recommend this to older kids who like Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed these twisted mother goose tales but I am not sure they are appropriate for younger audiences. They may be more suited for elementary age students. I think they are very clever and smart nursery rhymes and funnyand too. I love the sparse illustrations they really enhance the tales.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
There are books that will find an audience but that audience isn't me. As a result I tend not to rate them. Some will like these twisted nursery rhymes and will even share with a class. I am not certain I would feel comfortable in doing so.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I acknowledge the talent and wit behind these poems. But they aren't quite to my taste. I know plenty of others who will find them funny though. But I wouldn't recommend them for any of the younger crowd.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-picture
The subtitle is true-- these ARE very twisted rhymes. Most of them are funny, while others are creepy and downright mean. Definitely for older kids, and a few of the rhymes I could see pulling out for a school-age storytime.
Laura Salas
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quirky-dark-pbs
Funny, twisted, modern takes on nursery rhymes. Jack and Jill get busted, etc. Spinster Goose runs a school for all the naughty kids, the ones too tough for Mpther Goose to handle. Especially fun for 4th grade or so.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, children
Cute book that made me think a bit of the Miss Peregrine books with a twist of Roald Dahl. Funny, “dark” poems about naughty children who are sent away from Mother Goose to be taught by her strict sister, Spinster Goose. Gorgeous illustrations by Sophie Blackall.
I don't think kids are the audience for this parody of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. It's dark, but not funny, with a negative view of children that made me uncomfortable. I plan to pass it to a few open-minded young readers to see what they make of it.
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
It was a cute take on Mother Goose and the rhymes I grew up with. It was sweet and short and straight to the point.
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