So I decided to consult an expert, age 7. Cady is the youngest of my seven grandchildren, and she loves to read. One of my fondest memories of her is when she was maybe one-and-a-half years old; she had grabbed about half a dozen picture books under each arm and headed toward the comfy sofa, yelling, "Come on, grandma!" We were in for some serious reading that day. So Cady became my consultant after lunch on Sunday. We sat together on the sofa in her living room, and I pulled out three books I need to review: And Tango Makes Three, Other Goose, and Kersplatypus. Remember that she is seven.
Kersplatypus with its brightly illustrated cover drew her attention as she sounded out the word: "Ker-splat-ee-puss." She read me the first double-page spread, then lost interest. I think she was curious about the other books.
"Other Goose," Cady read. "Barbara Wyn Klunder." And she flipped open the book.
"Wait!" I said. "What about this?"
I pointed to the subtitle, which Cady dutifully read: "Recycled Rhymes for Our Fragile Times." Then she started reading the nursery rhymes. First up were Little Miss Muffet and the spider trying not to choke. Cady looked up at me and said, "I don't get it." I explained that they "tried not to choke" on second-hand smoke. Oh, okay. So we discussed what it was like being around cigarette smoke.
When This Little Piggy couldn't find a parking place and "sold it," Cady explained, "He sold his car and bought a parking place." Hmmm, interesting thought. The idea that Little Bo-Peep left alone is "liable to clone" didn't make any sense to her. And she struggled with "Little Boy Blue/Come blow your horn!/What goes into the ground/Comes out in the corn." She understood it as his horn music going into the ground, but how did it come out in the corn? The Old Woman who lived in a shoe knew what to do with so many kids: start a band. "But why?" Cady wanted to know. The germs in Jack and Jill's water being "a form of urban slaughter" made her screw up her face, and when the dog in Hey, Diddle Diddle sent out his blog, I had to get online to show her my blog. After reading "Baa, baa, black sheep,/Have you any gas?" Cady explained to me it was about gas for cars and planes and "not that other kind of gas!" (Giggle, giggle.)
Jack be nimbleCady was interested in the "little ship" below the bird's feet, while I opined that ship may be far away on the horizon and explained why that seagull didn't want oil coating his wings. I guess I'm glad that "Twinkle, twinkle, little starlets/More and more resembling harlots" went right over her head so I didn't have to explain it to her. We read all 22 rhymes, discussing them all the way.
Jack be quick
Jack watch out
For that oil slick!
I told Cady about writing book reviews and asked her what she thought of this one. She said, "It's a different kind of rhyming book." I sat down at the computer to capture her words. When she realized I was writing exactly what she said, she dictated carefully, "I have never read a book such ... like that one, so that's why I think it's an unusual book." No, she wanted to try again: "It's a strange book." And that's where she left it.
So who is this book written for? Not 4-8 year olds, not 6-9 year olds, maybe children grades six and up. In my opinion, however, it's for adults. I do have to say, my 7-year-old consultant read the whole book in one sitting, unlike Kersplatypus which seemed to be beneath her. It was time to eat when we finished her review of the book, but she let me know, "Next I want to read And Tango Makes Three."
Other Goose: Recycled Rhymes for Our Fragile Times is a book for environmentalists like me. Cady is getting there; she has the green bag I gave her when I invited all my granddaughters out to lunch one day and gave them green totes. But she'll enjoy this book more when she's a bit older. Since she plans to read this review when she gets home from school today, I want to say, "Thanks, Cady, for reading this book to me and sharing what you think about it. The people who read my blog also thank you."
And now, people, I'll leave you to enjoy an interview with the author-illustrator. I give you Barbara Klunder, speaking for herself:
Other Goose: Recycled Rhymes for Our Fragile Times ~ by Barbara Klunder, 2007, activist rhymes on the environment and culture, 8/10
Before I got this copy of the book, I wrote about it HERE. Since then I HAVE been able to find it for sale here in the States.