cover image A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes

A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes

Kady MacDonald Denton. Kingfisher, $18.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5109-0

Denton (Would They Love a Lion?) rounds up the usual suspects, offers a smattering of mostly well-chosen newcomers, and ends up with a winning collection of more than 100 rhymes. The volume is loosely arranged in four parts: rhymes to accompany the knee-dawdling of babyhood, Mother Goose golden oldies for the toddler years, action rhymes for denizens of the schoolyard, and finally, a potpourri for encouraging participation that ranges from riddles to The Owl and the Pussycat. A few of the selections are misplaced (e.g., the jaunty lyrics of ""Baby Face"" don't jibe rhythmically with the rest of the poems; Robert Burns's ""O, my luve is like a red, red rose..."" isn't likely to capture the attention of youngsters), but the fresh discoveries far outnumber them. The gently rolling rhythm of a Nantucket lullaby evokes foamy waves and elusive whales; a charmer from Ghana soothes a disquieted little one: ""Listen to the tree bear/ Crying in the night/ Crying for his mammy/ In the pale moonlight/ What will his mammy do/ When she hears him cry?/ She'll tuck him in a cocoa pod/ And sing a lullaby."" Arranging Denton's playful vignettes, spot art and full-spread paintings upon clean white pages, the book's crisp layout ensures that the quantity of material never overwhelms readers. Denton's breezy, often impish watercolors (which owe a debt to Sendak's early work) shake the dust off even the most familiar ditties. Ages 3 mos.-5 yrs. (Sept.)