It’s strange to think that Nursery Rhymes prove so difficult to round-up. I’ve done my best. After all, the art of the nursery rhyme is nothing to scoff at. There’s a reason they’ve kicked around all these centuries. Reading nursery rhymes to small children does wonders for brain development, to say nothing of the fact that they remain a cultural touchstone in our society. Here then is a bit of a mix. Some of these books play with the nursery rhyme format or redefine it. Others play it straight. I have no doubt, you’ll find something to love somewhere on this list.
2016 Nursery Rhymes
La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Ninos by Susan Middleton Elya, ill. Jana Martinez-Neal
Now my kids are full-throated lovers of Elya’s book Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos, which may well be regarded as one of the best firefighter books in the pantheon of firefighter picture book literature’s history. In that book Elya effortlessly worked Spanish into the English text. She does a fair amount of that here as well and it lends itself to lovely, bouncy rhythms and some great art. I’m a fan.
Maybe Mother Goose by Esme Raji Codell, ill. Elisa Chavarri
A book with true readaloud potential, particularly to big groups. It contains six nursery rhymes and then asks questions of the audience, allowing them the chance to say, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” in loud voices. Any book that does that has my instant love.
My Very First Mother Goose by Rosemary Wells
I’m slipping some reprints in here as well AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME!!! This is actually the 20th anniversary reprint of the Wells classic, and I’m all for it. This wouldn’t be a worthy nursery rhyme list without at least one true all-encompassing collection, after all.
Miss Muffet, Or What Came After by Marilyn Singer, ill. David Litchfield
A truly ambitious outing. Singer’s book is told in rhyme but is truly meant to be read or performed or read to older kids. She slips a great many nursery rhyme characters into the tale, which is interesting because some of them are a bit lesser known. For example, the poem Cock-a-Doodle-Doo! plays an important role.
One, Two, Three Mother Goose by Iona Opie, ill. Rosemary Wells
Another Rosemary Wells, this time in service to the great Iona Opie. This book is in a board book format, and in my own personal experience I found some of the poems to work better than others with very young kids. That said, isn’t that always the case with good nursery rhymes?
The People of the Town: Nursery-Rhyme Friends for You and Me by Alan Marks
This would be the second book on this list that actually contains straight nursery rhymes. Twenty-six of them, to be precise. Interestingly they are all people-centric in this collection. An interesting choice.
Sing With Me! Action Songs Every Child Should Know by Naoko Stoop
Okay, true, these are action rhymes and not nursery rhymes per se. But since the number of action rhyme books for kids released in a given year is even less than that of nursery rhymes, I’m going to let it slide on in. After all, it received stellar professional reviews and is just really cool to look at.
Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:
December 1 – Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Adaptations
December 3 – Nursery Rhymes
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Alphabet Books
December 7 – Funny Picture Books
December 8 – Calde-Nots
December 9 – Picture Book Reprints
December 10 – Math Picture Books
December 11 – Bilingual Books
December 12 – International Imports
December 13 – Books with a Message
December 14 – Fabulous Photography
December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales
December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year
December 17 – Older Picture Books
December 18 – Easy Books
December 19 – Early Chapter Books
December 20 – Graphic Novels
December 21 – Poetry
December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Titles
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books
December 29 – Novel Reprints
December 30 – Novels
December 31 – Picture Books