cover image Mother Goose Magic

Mother Goose Magic

Kay Chorao. Dutton Books, $15.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45064-1

Chorao ( The Baby's Bedtime Book ) assembles familiar and lesser-known characters from eight nursery rhymes to playact the verses, providing pictorial transitions between each. In ``Donkey, Donkey, old and gray . . . '' a boy throws off his donkey costume, becoming the first link in the chain of characters. Riding on the back of a feathered Mother Goose, he lassos the flying pig from ``Dickory, Dickory, Dare,'' and follows ``Little Robin Red Breast'' as he flies ``needle naddle'' to ``Sam, Sam, the Butcher Man.'' The sequence is smooth enough, but some verses are so brief that their rhythm and pace drag when Chorao stretches them over a number of pages. The romp ends as Mother Goose, in the role of ``Little Nanny Button Cap,'' tucks in the characters under the spun-sugar night sky Chorao depicts so well. As in her previous work, her art conjures up a twinkly atmosphere, appropriate for the very youngest readers; but except for the glowing wand Mother Goose holds, it is unclear exactly what magic is at work here. Ages 2-5. (Jan.)