Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spinster Goose by Lisa Wheeler - NO

Wheeler, Lisa and Sophie Blackall Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children. Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011. $16.99. In this collection of poems based on Mother Goose's nursery rhymes, it turns out the classic storyteller has a sister: Spinster Goose, a stern woman who runs a school for bad children.

The poems are very dark and accompanied by surreal artwork. In one, Humpty Dumpty sits forlorn in a bathroom stall, ruminating on his unrequited love for Spinster Goose. In another, children steal treats from the teachers' lounge. Others cover bullying, lying, skipping school, and a variety of other bad behaviors. While the idea is fun and the illustrations are engaging, it could be difficult to find a place for it in a school library, since the intended audience is not clear. The rhymes are rather sinister for young audiences, portraying truly awful behavior, yet the picture book format and use of "children" in the title could make it a difficult sell for middle school and high school students. At any level, however, one or two poems could be selected as a good lesson in parody. It could also make a good present for adults who love dark humor. EL - NO. Reviewer: Caryn.

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