THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOTHER GOOSE

Nina Crews, Author, Nina Crews, Illustrator, Nina Crews, Selected by . Greenwillow/Amistad $15.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-06-051573-7

Crews's photographic picture books (One Hot Summer Day ; Snowball ) have always captured a certain rhythm—be it of the playground, a city sidewalk or just childlike interaction. Like them, her latest project rolls along with a strong beat; verse and image keep perfect time. Viewed through Crews's camera, an urban neighborhood (the author's beloved Brooklyn, as distinguished by various borough landmarks) resonates with activity. Readers can almost hear hands clapping, babies cooing and children laughing in crisp photo-collages. A grassy park, storefronts, apartment windows and rooftops provide some of the backdrops for members of a multi-ethnic cast as they interpret such rhymes as "Ring Around the Rosie," "Dance, Little Baby" and "Humpty Dumpty." Crews includes lesser-known verses as well—"Cobbler, Cobbler," "Three Wise Men of Gotham"—which work to equally good effect. Adding an element of whimsy, she digitally manipulates her photos, achieving a varied scale that allows Jack (of "Be Nimble" fame) to hurdle a cupcake with a candle in it, or three tiny men (those men of Gotham) to head seaward off a Coney Island pier. The updated look provides a freshness without being overtly contemporary; Mother Goose's timeless rhymes are quite at home in this new setting. Throughout, the artist demonstrates a talent for coaxing seemingly candid moments from her child subjects as they enact their nursery-rhyme roles, and the other hallmarks of her work—color, action and a sense of fun—shine at full force. Ages 3-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/19/2004
Release date: 12/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 64 pages - 978-0-06-051574-4
Paperback - 64 pages - 978-0-06-051575-1
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