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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nursery Rhyme Comics

Last weekend I went to the Indianapolis Youth Literature Festival. I had a great time, even though I just went for the public book signing.

Nick Bruel was going to be signing, so I brought along Nursery Rhyme Comics.  When I got to the front of the line, he was surprised and delighted to see the collection (he had been signing lots of Bad Kitty books). I could tell he was proud to be able to sign it for me: he told me about the three contributions he had made to the book. 1. Illustrating Three Little Kittens; 2. Bringing his friend Jules Feiffer on to the project; and 3. Suggesting that "If anyone should do London Bridge is Falling Down, it's David Macaulay."

Let me tell you how I found this gem. I love it.

It was a Cybils nominee, and one of the other panelists got a hold of it and said it was excellent, but the rest of us couldn't seem to find it. I peeked at a link on the publishers website that showed a few pages -- it had potential. Then, in the eleventh hour, the day before we were going to make our final shortlist, review copies arrived for all the panelists in the mail. I was away on Christmas vacation, my copy in IL, my body in AZ.

Others on the panel read it quickly or glanced it over and the consensus was that it was a standout. I took the panel's word for it, and when I got home and got my package, it was my first priority. I had to know what I had put my stamp of approval on.

Nick Bruel signing books at the Indianapolis Youth Literature Festival 2012
Oh my goodness! It is fantastic!  We've been reading it non-stop since then. It's the perfect bedtime book because Benjamin (age 3) can beg for just one more rhyme, and they're all so varied and well done that I don't mind giving in.  The collection boasts "50 rhymes from 50 celebrated cartoonists." Nursery rhymes are short, and these illustrated ones range in length from one to three pages. Some of the rhymes are illustrated to keep the classic meaning, some have a new creative twist. My personal fave is One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Dave Roman, but there are so many that I love. Benjamin always asks for Sara Varon's Mary Had a Little Lamb. Trust me, no matter your taste, you'll find a favorite in this book. The rhymes range from sweet to serious, the art from bold to intricate.

To avoid repetitive stress injuries while signing books,
Nick Bruel draws pictures in the books too. 

This book is perfect for teachers -- in fact while I was in line a third-grade boy told me excitedly that his teacher had read some of the rhymes to his class and he loved it.  Perhaps this will be my new go-to baby shower gift. Jim Jacobs taught my Children's Literature class and he told us all to find a good mother goose collection and buy loads of copies to give to new parents. I've looked before without success. In Nursery Rhyme Comics I've found one I love.

It's really the sort of thing that is fun for all ages. My one-year-old will sit still for a poem or two, my three-year-old wants more. Older kids love the humor in it, and I can vouch that you don't need to be a kid to enjoy it. It's really stellar.

Alysa with Author & Illustrator Nick Bruel

3 comments:

  1. I'll have to think about getting this one day. Addison LOVES her Mother Goose book, but I am getting a tad bored with it after so many bazillion readings!

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  2. My kids are bonkers for Bad Kitty. I'll have to take a look at this book. Might be good for my kindergartner.

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  3. This is also going to be my go-to gift for new parents. I love it!

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