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Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  58 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 ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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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
Linda Lipko
When Mother Goose can not handle a supremely errant child, she sends him or her to her Sister, Spinster Goose.

Some of the punishments meted out by Spinster Goose cause me to laugh out loud. This is a highly creative book with unique poems, and wonderful illustrations.
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
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
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.
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
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.
The children's book, "Spinster Goose" by Lisa Wheeler takes an innovative and interesting look at the classic character of Mother Goose and puts a spin on her dealings with naughty children. The illustrations are humorous and sporadic, giving the book an overall impression of comedic moments. This book is also designed to incorporate numerous poems that are all connected through the Spinster Goose and her school. This is a delightful book that offers silly examples for young children on some ...more
Madeline Masluk
I thought this book was very funny in many ways because it describes all of the characters of doing naughty things and why they get into trouble in the first place. Each poem in the book describes the students and why they are bad and it also has good rhyming words to the story as well. Would recommend parents reading this book to their trouble children at home! If they have any.
Katie Wilkerson
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun book with a dark twist. I read this book with my son and it was more enjoyable for him when the twisted rhyme originated from a rhyme he had heard before. I recommend reading the original rhymes before these for full enjoyment. I really enjoyed this book. :0)
Karla Winick-Ford
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

I’d have this for my house but would not recommend reading aloud to a class of young children

A wealth of great vocabulary and some amazing moral messages

Too risqué for the school setting though for me
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A few good ones in here. "The Swearer" especially tickled my funny bone. "Baa Baa Black Sheep/loves to curse and swear./Here a BLEAT. There a BLEAT./BLEAT, BLEAT everywhere!..."
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 ...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
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.)
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!
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.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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