cover image Mother Goose of Pudding Lane

Mother Goose of Pudding Lane

Chris Raschka, illus. by Vladimir Radunsky. Candlewick, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7523-3

This collaboration, completed before Radunsky’s death in 2018, suggests that the real Mother Goose was Elizabeth Foster, a young woman from 17th-century Boston who married a widower named Isaac Goose. A printer on Pudding Lane is said to have published a collection of the lullabies and verse she wrote to amuse their sizable brood, though no copy survives. Raschka writes his own nursery rhyme for the couple (“Elizabeth Goose/ Met/ Isaac Goose/ Who loved her from the start”), which winds throughout the volume. On each spread, Raschka’s lines are followed by traditional Mother Goose rhymes—some well-known, others more obscure. Radunsky’s joyous, dreamlike gouache figures cavort across the spreads; pencil drawings and ghostly naïf-style images appear here and there, too, as if a toddler had scribbled on the pages. Comically dressed in bonnets and tricorn hats, the people and their animals sometimes share equal status—a gentle- man in a wig kisses a dog (“Sneeze on a Tuesday, kiss a stranger”), a poodle yearns for a bulldog, and a dog and a goat contemplate a baby in a cradle. Happily, instead of concentrating on nostalgia, the longtime collaborators pursue the verses’ unadulterated silliness, creating a strange and wonderful effect. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]