Book Review: Clare Beaton's Mother Goose Remembers

Mother Goose Remembers (with CD), by Clare Beaton
Published by Barefoot Books (September 1, 2006)
Recommended for ages 4 - 8

Clare Beaton’s Mother Goose Remembers was first published in August 2000. At that time, I was in Vermont, just 500 or so miles into my southbound hike of the Appalachian Trail. I was 30 years old, single (with no plans to be married ... ever), and childless (with no plans for children ... ever).

Ah, how things have changed! Now I’m enjoying this very book with my sweet daughter, who insists that we read it at least once every single night. Here she is, reading it with my mom:

Anne Megan at one year, reading with her "GG"

The book, a collection of Mother Goose rhymes (some of which were new to me), has a homey, old-fashioned feel to it; this is due to Clare Beaton’s original, hand-sewn designs. She uses felt, lace, buttons, bric-a-brac, and who knows what else.

The pictures are a lot of fun to look at, and I appreciate them more with each dozen times I read the book. They're simplistic but not boring; there’s always something new and intricate to discover, such as the bric-a-brac used to represent the ground, or the buttons used for flower petals. Every page (or almost every page) has a little floating feather hidden somewhere on it, and that’s something a child can look for with each rhyme.

I really like the wording of the rhymes, as they haven't been modernized or much changed (that I can tell) from when I learned them as a child. There are a few differences, but they are minor, and most likely common variations on the rhymes. In case you're wondering, here are a couple of differences that I can think of right now:

- In "Hey Diddle Diddle," I learned "The little dog laughed to see such sport," while the book has "The little dog laughed to see such fun."

- "To Market, To Market" is missing the final two lines as I learned it ("To market, to market, to buy a plum bun / Home again, home again, market is done").

See? Nothing major. I never really knew what a plum bun was, anyway. (Though I do wish she'd used "sport" instead of "fun." Somehow, "sport" sounds so much more properly English.)
Mother Goose Remembers is recommended for ages 4 – 8, but, in keeping with her mature reading tastes, fourteen-month-old Anne loves it; it’s a hands-down favorite for her. We read it from front to back every night, and then from back to front, and often from front to back and back to front again. Anne turns the pages herself and stops on the pages she likes most. Her favorites have changed over time; at the moment, she’s digging “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” “Pat-a-Cake,” and “Ring Around the Rosy.”

The book comes with a CD of the rhymes being sung. I must admit, I haven’t listened to it more than a couple of times; not that it’s bad (it’s actually quite goodnot annoying like a lot of children's music CDs out there), but because our CD player is in our living room, and Anne and I typically read in her bedroom. I keep meaning to download the tunes to my iPod so we can play the rhymes for her in the car.

Oh, and Anne loves to open and close the plastic CD holder at the front of the book. :-)

Though I'm sure she'll eventually tire of the CD holder, I think Anne and I are going to enjoy this book together for years to come. It’s a rare children’s book that, after 100 or more reads, can continue to be engaging for both the parent and the child. For us, Clare Beaton’s Mother Goose Remembers is one of those books.

(As an added note: Like The Hidden Alphabet, Mother Goose Remembers gets my creative mind going. I’m not an "artsy-craftsy" person at all, but I can’t help but think of how fun it might be to have Anne, when she's a little older, try her hand at making art similar to Beaton’s—when we're not out hiking the trails, that is!)


lifeinlimits said…
This book sounds adorable! I'm going to have to check it out....
The dB family said…
You just might end up being artsy fartsy yet :o). It sounds like a great book. I'm glad nursery rhymes are so timeless.


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