by Sally MavorHoughton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010, 72 pages
I've always really enjoyed good children's books - for the good stories, the sense of fun, and especially for the pictures. The best picture books are works of art. And this particular book is a great example of that.
In this book, Sally Mavor has used her considerable skill to illustrate favorite nursery rhymes - in fabric, embroidery, and collage. The artist uses wood for faces, acorns for hats, beads for flowers and fruit, and quite a variety of stitches and fabrics to create shapes and patterns. Each page is a lush, detailed depiction of one or more rhymes with plenty for readers to examine and find. As someone who once dabbled in fabric arts, I wish I had more spare time to try what she has accomplished here (and I notice she has also written another book to tell us how!).
I like the book for other reasons, too. Nursery rhymes are great for enjoying with very young children - they rhyme, they have rhythm, they often lend themselves to actions, they're short, and they allow you to start the book on any page. They're also important for everyone to know as part of our English literary heritage - they reappear throughout our lives as readers, and contain a variety of ideas, from nonsense to history to nuggets of wisdom.
The layout of this one is very appealing - just the right amount of words on a page, allowing little ones to listen and share, and slightly older children to read for themselves.
This would be a great gift book for a young family - ours is enjoying it very much, and I suspect it will be a favorite for some time to come.