Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children
Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children
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Annotation: Traditional Mother Goose nursery rhymes are rewritten, depicting unruly students attending the school of Spinster Goose.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #49996
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Atheneum
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Illustrator: Blackall, Sophie,
Pages: 41 pages
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 1-416-92541-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-49429-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-416-92541-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-49429-9
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2009040970
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
This collection of riffs on familiar Mother Goose favorites is irresistibly sinister, combining darkly mutated rhymes with subtly surreal illustrations to delicious effect. Wheeler casts Spinster Goose as the headmistress of a reform school for naughty children and reimagines everyone from Lucy Locket to Wee Willie Winkie as her ne'er-do-well pupils. The rhymes themselves take great liberties with their predecessors and may require some practice before they trip off the tongue. But their cracked and crooked charm merits the effort. For her part, Blackall applies her typically sweet-natured style in surprising and occasionally disturbing ways (the children, for example, are all similar-looking, except that some of them, inexplicably, have animal heads). A particularly tidy, straightforward book design makes for a nice foil, against which the wicked rhymes and unsettling images really sing. Many children will love hearing these cleverly menacing verses and will love repeating them even more.
Horn Book
Mother Goose's twisted sister stars in Wheeler's semi-subversive collection. The cautionary rhymes detail all manner of bad (cheating, bullying) or impolite behavior, made even funnier by a mock-formal typeface and decorously spacious pages. Blackall's ink and watercolor illustrations maintain a similar balance, with prim lines and sober colors displaying the mischief. A good first lesson in parody.
Kirkus Reviews
Delectably satiric nursery rhymes play with naughtiness and punishment. Mother Goose sends disobedient children (some human, some half-animal) to her sister Spinster Goose's reform school, where "The pinchers get pinched, / and the pokers get poked. / The biters get bit, / and the smokers get smoked." Crimes range from eating chalk to stealing sweets and cheating. Some consequences arise naturally (gum-chewer's gum explodes on her face), while others come at Spinster's strict hand: Baa Baa Black Sheep swears, so Spinster "hires shearers from the north, / hygenists [sic] from the south. / They promptly shear his BLEATING wool, / then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Real violence remains mostly at rumor level as threats—an electric chair and stretching rack are shown but not used. Lard-boiled beans prove that "Life is Gruel"; deliberately filthy Polly Flinders refuses to shower because "this punk is into Grunge." Badness was never more enjoyable than Wheeler's wicked rewrites: "Friday's child stole seventeen lunches. / Saturday's child threw seventeen punches. / But the child who got a Sunday detention / did something too naughty for me to mention." Blackall's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness of necks bending in woe, cheeks paling in nausea and this whole mob of unbiddable, hybrid Struwwelpeter/Gorey kids. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)
Publishers Weekly
This collection of Mother Goose parodies by Wheeler (Ugly Pie) and Blackall (Pecan Pie Baby) is as elegant as it is, like Mary, ""quite contrary."" The no-nonsense Spinster Goose oversees a reform school: ""Not painted up pretty,/ it's mottled and gray./ The grounds are a nightmare./ (She likes it that way)."" Blackall's pallid vignettes balance chilly poise and mordant humor. In one spread, a line of truculent children/animal hybrids slouch beneath Spinster Goose's gaze, one with a cigarette smoking behind her back. In ""The Dirty Kid,"" medical-style spots provide closeups of the lice in bath-averse Polly Flinders's hair and the toejam between her toes. Wheeler adds some intellectual depth to the original nursery rhymes while grossifying them. Little Miss Muffet chews chalk, while a familiar Mary is recast as an unrepentant fibber (""Mary had a little lamb./ She said it was a horse./ But anyone with eyes could see/ it was a lamb, of course""). Though some may shrink from its clever ghastliness, kids with twisted senses of humor will feel right at home. Ages 5%E2%80%93up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3&12; As the title suggests, these rhymes lean toward the dark side and will appeal most to those who like their giggles with a bit of a spin. The endpaper image sets the scene&12;a bleak-looking house with barred windows and playground in disrepair sits on a lonely, empty landscape. This is where Mother Goose sends incorrigible children to live with her sister, Spinster Goose, and where they eventually get their comeuppance. Wheeler's verses showcase well-known nursery rhyme characters, but their deeds here take a far different path. Margery Daw's constant gum chewing, Bobby Shaftoe's thievery, Georgie Porgie's bullying, and Peter Peter's cheating are these youngsters' misdemeanors and are dealt with&12;at least at Spinster Goose's school&12;in revolutionary ways. "Baa Baa Black Sheep/loves to curse and swear./Here a BLEAT. There a BLEAT./BLEAT, BLEAT everywhere!" What does the Spinster do? "She hires shearers from the north,/hygienists from the south./They promptly shear his BLEATING wool,/then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Blackall backs up the rhymes with wry, devilish images that surround, infiltrate, and help spark this offbeat collection. Pairing these parodies with a traditional Mother Goose book (such as those by Tomie dePaola or Rosemary Wells) will help expand listeners' appreciation of Wheeler's humor.&12; Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Delectably satiric nursery rhymes play with naughtiness and punishment. Mother Goose sends disobedient children (some human, some half-animal) to her sister Spinster Goose's reform school, where "The pinchers get pinched, / and the pokers get poked. / The biters get bit, / and the smokers get smoked." Crimes range from eating chalk to stealing sweets and cheating. Some consequences arise naturally (gum-chewer's gum explodes on her face), while others come at Spinster's strict hand: Baa Baa Black Sheep swears, so Spinster "hires shearers from the north, / hygenists [sic] from the south. / They promptly shear his BLEATING wool, / then wash his BLEATING mouth!" Real violence remains mostly at rumor level as threats—an electric chair and stretching rack are shown but not used. Lard-boiled beans prove that "Life is Gruel"; deliberately filthy Polly Flinders refuses to shower because "this punk is into Grunge." Badness was never more enjoyable than Wheeler's wicked rewrites: "Friday's child stole seventeen lunches. / Saturday's child threw seventeen punches. / But the child who got a Sunday detention / did something too naughty for me to mention." Blackall's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness of necks bending in woe, cheeks paling in nausea and this whole mob of unbiddable, hybrid Struwwelpeter/Gorey kids. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (2/1/11)
Horn Book (8/1/11)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (3/1/11)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 1,836
Reading Level: 3.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 143617 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD610L
Guided Reading Level: U

Some children are simply too naughty for Mother Goose to handle. Luckily her sister Spinster Goose knows just how to deal with these uncouth urchins. Her school is home to some world-class troublemakers: they bite and pinch, they talk back and fight--they eat chalk! But brats beware--this isn’t just any school, and Spinster isn't your average goose. Her curious methods will rid these students of their horrendous behaviors…right?

Fans of Mother Goose will delight in these devilishly twisted alternatives to classic rhymes.

An introduction from Mother Goose
Spinster Goose
The gum-chewer
The thief
The swearer
The chalk-eater
Crooked row
Student of the week
The cooks
A sign in the cafeteria
The menu
The ditchers
The bully
The loser
The thumb-sucker
A sign in the classroom
The dirty kid
The hair-twirler
Sub-standard
Humpty Dumpty
The cheater
A sign in the hallway
The custodian
The interrupter
The fibber
The tattletale
Good-bye.

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