By: Lucy Nolan
Illustrated by: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: June 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: July 2009
Mary had a little clam... hey, wait a minute. Isn’t that supposed to read “lamb?” No, this is a book for boys and girls, possessed with a silly sense of humor, who prefer clams to lambs in their nursery rhymes (probably in their chowder too!). Up and down the east coast, over to the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, into the Gulf of Mexico and with a hop, skip and a jump we’re off to Oregon and on our silly sing song tour around the states. Let’s take a little spin up to the northeast and check out “Lobster Pies.”
“Old Mrs. Wise
made lobster pies,
all on a winter’s day;
her greedy son
grabbed every one
and took them clean away.”
“What a surprise
for Junior Wise
lay inside that croaker sack.
When he sat on a bench
to eat a pinch,
the lobster pies pinched back!”
This is a very quaint and refreshing take on nursery rhymes that will be sure to enchant and transport the reader into the magical world of buoys and gulls. I smiled at some, giggled at others and enjoyed an interesting lesson on the names of animal family groups in One Flamingo. Some of the rhymes are fairly lengthy, while others are just four lines, but all are delightful and novel. The art work is vibrant, colorful and meshes very well with the nursery rhyme theme. In the back of the book are two pages containing factual materials about the rhymes, a map indicating their locations and a page of interesting questions for additional homeschool, individual or classroom activities. There are additional activities relative to this book on the Sylvan Dell website. Why do you think it took so long for Mary’s clam to get to school? You’ll have to read the rhyme and conduct a little research to answer that one!
Quill says: Mother Goose should make a spot for this winsome book right next to herself on the shells, er, shelves.
Adding to her defense of free-flight, the author uses the argument that without using their wings, parrots are susceptible to “wasting macaw disease,” something I’d never heard of. Researching the condition, I discovered that it is correctly known as Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) and is caused by contact with infected birds and/or a contaminated environment; it is viral and does not come from disuse of wings. There is other misinformation in this book, such as the lifespan of a domestic versus a wild macaw, that Winston Churchill’s macaw is still alive (the general feeling is that Churchill never even owned a macaw), and that allowing a parrot to share your gin and tonic, although not a great idea, can’t be too bad once in a while. The author’s poor judgment and her tendency to anthropomorphize her birds’ feelings led to the death of not one, but two parrots. While those not familiar with parrots may not catch on to the misinformation and bad care Sarah received, any responsible bird owner will cringe while reading this book.
Quill says: A cute premise but this book is a disappointment.
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