Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mother Goose on the Loose edited by Bobbye S. Goldstein

Goldstein is, according to her bio, "a prominent educator and a well-known poet for children." Here, she's collected a pile of New Yorker cartoons that comment on or reference nursery rhymes -- Jack and Jill, Old King Cole, Little Jack Horner, and their ilk -- and run them all together.

I don't quite see the purpose to this book, though any collection of New Yorker cartoons is bound to be pretty good, just because the cartoons themselves are pretty good.

I have the feeling that this exists only because The Cartoon Bank is in existence to license New Yorker cartoons to people with the money to buy them, and because Harry N. Abrams (the publisher) has been doing well with a wide variety of New Yorker cartoons. It's a weird idea, and it doesn't really mean anything, or add up to anything -- it's just a collection of cartoons with an unlikely theme.

Goldstein does provide some doggerel for the stories that aren't already nursery rhymes -- Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood -- and those aren't embarrassing, but they're not terribly good, either. (She doesn't try to retell the story in verse, but instead comments on it herself.)

I read this because it was in my library and it has some good cartoons in it, but I can't see who would want to pay their own money for it, except maybe fanatical folklorists.

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