Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty? by David T. Greenberg and illustrated by S. D. Schindler

The other part of this book's title is "And Other Surprising Sequels to Mother Goose Rhymes". That was important to share because it really explains the book, as does the front cover, I feel. These are almost re-imaginings of these classic rhymes because they include the original and then go on to say more about them. Or they include a short passage from the original rhyme and build on it. One interesting thing for me was that I did not know some of the Mother Goose rhymes in here, or at least not all of them. I was surprised to find some of them a little gruesome actually. My favorite rhyme in this book was both funny and a little grotesque. It is a re-imagining of Three Blind Mice.
Three blind mice, see how they run!
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
who cut off their tail with a carving knife!
Have you ever seen such a sight in your life?
As three blind mice?
The rest of the tale goes on to explain that the farmer's wife cut off the tails because they are useful around the house. It also says that she decided mouse tails weren't enough so she started cutting the tails off of all kinds of things and then...
And then one day she tried to chop
the tail off the end of a whale
but he swallowed her up instead
and that is the end of her tale.
Soo... I guess she got hers. What made this one funny though were the illustrations. They are something that would probably go right over the top of a child's head (not unlike most of the humor in Shrek) but adults would catch on. The farmers wife who decides that mouse tails are helpful around the house is none other than Martha Stuart.

Another thing that this book, and that rhyme in particular, made me think of was how grotesque children's stories used to be. I mean look at the original telling of the Grimm's Fairy Tales- totally messed up! I guess you have to consider the times though. When those were made up, nothing was being psycho-analyzed and nobody thought about "oh what will this do to my children's emotional state?" Can you imagine what the press would do to someone if they came out with all those stories today? If rhymes like Three Blind Mice weren't hailed as classics, would we think the same about them? Just a thought.

Anywho, this one is for all ages. I would watch out for any kind of sensitive material though. For example, the one where Mother Goose and her gander get sucked up by a 747 while out for a leisurely fly. Some kids might laugh, others might be horrified so you just have to know your class.

No comments:

Post a Comment