cover image HEY, MAMA GOOSE


Jane Breskin Zalben, , illus. by Emilie Chollat. . Dutton, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-47097-7

Zalben (Saturday Night at the Beastro ) references Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm favorites in this playful romp, in which familiar characters trade spaces. The sequence begins with the old woman who lived in a shoe: "She cried, 'Hey, Mama Goose, what should I do?/ My family is growing and with it my fears/ That a shoe isn't roomy enough for my dears.' " Chollat (Ackamarackus ) portrays Mama Goose as a real-estate agent who knows of an empty cottage with seven small beds, since "Snow White and the dwarfs left to live with a maid/ Who is known far and wide for her long yellow braid." While Snow White and Co. use her garret, Rapunzel rents Rumpelstiltskin's straw-filled barn; Rumplestiltskin "yearn[s] to spin sugar, not spools of fine metal,/ So he sought out the cottage of Hansel and Gretel," which is built of gingerbread and frosting. Zalben deftly reminds her audience of key dwellings, from the Third Little Pig's brick house to Sleeping Beauty's rose-covered castle. Eventually, despite the Three Bears having set up a porridge stand in the old woman's shoe, everyone gladly returns to their original homes. Chollat creates rollicking mixed-media illustrations in which characters gallop from house to house over swooping green hills. Watchful readers will catch additional visual allusions to standbys such as "Cinderella" and "Hey, Diddle Diddle" in the spirited images, which complement the sunny rhymes and test everyone's nursery mettle. Ages 3-up. (Feb.)