How many of you today still remember your old book of nursery rhymes? I do. It was a favorite. My copy was a large, red volume that contained a vast amount of rhymes. It lived in my grandmother’s kitchen cupboard, next to the refrigerator,  where all my cherished toys and books lived and were easily accessible. Despite the book being almost as big as me, I would drag it out onto the floor and happily turn page after page quoting the little rhymes. At first, I was merely associating pictures and the sing-song rhyme of the verses. I couldn’t read them. I was too young. But, that didn’t last long and that is why nursery rhymes are perfect as one of your child’s first books!

Alas, my own treasured collection of rhymes is long gone. It disappeared over the years much to my dismay. I wish I still had it, but today I thought I would share with you another beautiful volume of nursery rhymes. It is a small compilation compared to my original version, but the illustrations are gorgeous and it is sure to please your youngest reader.

Book Details

Mother Goose

Title:  Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose
Illustrator:  Scott Gustafson
Publisher:  Artisan

Pages:  100
Available Editions:  Kindle | Hardcover

Age:  2+

Summary:  From nonsense to lessons learned, these 45 rhymes include the very well known (Itsy Bitsy Spider) and the somewhat familiar (Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen). The truly fantastic pictures speak more than a thousand words as artist Scott Gustafson riffs in paint on themes present and imagined in each verse.

Nursery rhymes are classic, and so are some of the artist’s interpretations. But other paintings are surprises, like an anthropomorphic baking bear, a pelican sea captain, and Peter Piper as a pug on two legs. Welcome to a world where “There Was a Crooked Man” is not about a hunchbacked senior but rather a madcap, double-jointed dandy who might be “crooked” in more ways than one. Jack (Be Nimble) is a leaping cricket and Yankee Doodle a fun-loving chipmunk on a fullsize horse.

Scott Gustafson’s unique style, influenced by legendary book illustrators Arthur Rackham and N. C. Wyeth, makes this a volume to be treasured by children and illustrated-book lovers of all ages. [Source:]

A childhood favorite

Simple Simon met a pieman,

Going to the Fair.

Said Simple Simon to the pieman,

Let me taste your ware.

Said the pieman to Simple Simon,

Show me first your penny.

Said Simple Simon to the pieman,

Indeed, I have not any.

Truth be told, this was just one of my many favorites. I loved nursery rhymes as a child. They made me feel accomplished as a beginner reader. My big, red book was one that I could always rely on to be able to read for myself. That’s a great feeling when you’re young. And each new rhyme told a simple, little story.

What I Enjoyed About This Book

  • You will be transported back to your childhood the moment you crack the spine of this engaging volume. Further, if you’re like me, you will find yourself chanting the verses aloud as you immerse yourself within the pages.

  • Scott Gustafson’s illustrations are delightful. Children will be drawn in by the whimsy of his artistic representation of these classic nursery rhymes.

  • Nursery rhymes empower a child by encouraging them to become readers. It starts with a parent teaching the nursery rhymes to a child while reading the book. Next, the child becomes familiar with the verse and begins to recognize the words associated with the ‘sing song’ rhyme. This is all part of the memory process. Soon they are able to connect the words and read them for themselves! The large text of this book and the more condensed version of some of the rhymes will make it even easier for your little one to read.

As much as I enjoyed this version of Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes–mostly for the illustrations–it is not the book of my childhood. Although, I do believe children will enjoy it thoroughly. For a more in-depth, classic version you may want to look into this book of nursery rhymes. It is 352 pages and probably more along the lines of what you remember as a child as well.

I must say, all of this nostalgia is making me want to go and peruse the aisle of my local book stores to see if I can uncover a copy of my own beloved nursery rhyme book. I can already tell, the hunt has begun. In the meantime, I shall enjoy this version of Mother Goose.

Happy reading,

K. Lamb