Nursery Rhyme Comics

What It Is

This collection of nursery rhymes is noteworthy and uniquely appealing because the illustrations were done by well-known cartoonists and comic book artists. The collection includes nursery rhymes that have been favorites for generations of kids, such as “Three Little Kittens,” “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” and “Jack Be Nimble.” However, the comics give them a distinctly modern interpretation. Readers won’t find more traditional pastels and water colors in this collection. Instead, “Rock-A-Bye Baby” appears as a frame-by-frame comic strip. Readers may recognize such artists as Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty series), Jules Feiffer (The Daddy Mountain) and David Macaulay (The Way Things Work), but the majority are comic book artists who may be new to most parents. Certainly it’s one of the only times their work has been featured in a book for little ones.

Why It’s Fun

The modern approach to nursery rhymes can be fun, but appreciation of the effort is likely lost on young kids who would enjoy them. The illustrations and comics are colorful, but very busy for young eyes and short attention spans. Also, several of the artists are clearly used to drawing for an older audience, as evidenced by some very bizarre character interpretations. Preschoolers and young children typically enjoy softer, less edgy illustrations. In this book, Bo Peep looks like a teen celebrity after a hard night of partying. However, poor not-so-nimble Jack’s burned bottom made us all chuckle.

Who’s Going To Love It

Having spent many years working with comic book properties, I definitely see the appeal of this book to comic book fans. What comic aficionado wouldn’t love “Solomon Grundy” illustrated by the creator of Hellboy? Credit goes to the publisher for a creative idea. Unfortunately, the artistry is apt to be more appreciated by a niche group of adults than by kids. I can see this book on the coffee table in the apartment of my 20-something nephew, but it’s not a title that my kids and I will likely cozy up to in the future.

Read-It-Again Points

3 out of 10

Book Information

Published by: First Second Books (2011)
Approximate retail price: $18.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 3 and up


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