cover image No Hickory No Dickory No Dock: Caribbean Nursery Rhymes

No Hickory No Dickory No Dock: Caribbean Nursery Rhymes

John Agard, Grace Nichols. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-156-4

Despite the subtitle of this disparate collection of nearly 40 ``Caribbean'' verses, only six of its entries are authentic folk rhymes-the remainder are an uneven selection of original poems by the Guyana-born Agard and Nichols. In ``Baby-K Rap Rhyme,'' for example, jaunty stanzas alternate with the refrain ``poop po-doop/ poop-poop-po-doop'' and unexpectedly lead to a polemic: ``Dey pumping up de chickens,/ Dey stumping down de trees,/ Dey messing up de ozones,/ Dey messing up de seas.'' Mother Goose characters put in occasional appearances (Humpty Dumpty is befriended by ``little Hugh/ who fixed him up with super glue''). Other poems celebrate sights and sounds particular to the islands (``A certain old lady from Caribee loved the sound of kis-ka-dee-kis-kis-ka-dee''), and nearly all make use of dialect. But the strongest flavors here derive from Jabar's (How Many How Many How Many) scratchboard illustrations. Full of zest, lit with tropical colors, these pictures fairly dance across the pages. Ages 4-up. (May)