Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar—a land of mystery and fright. A unique twist on traditional rhymes of everyone’s youth, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a more sinister approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time. […]If you enjoy mischief and have a penchant for the morbidly hilarious, the Herzs’ rhymes will satisfy your mythological curiosities.
Larson’s illustrations give new life to these ancient figures, and her artistic style employs the bold lines and colorful movement of an action-packed comic book. The author also includes a “bestiary” with information about the book’s legendary creatures, which hail from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Persia, Haiti, and Scandinavia.
This is a first on A Fantastical Librarian: a picture book review. Henry Herz’s Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes contains fourteen rhymes all playing off well-known nursery rhymes. Since we’ve been reading lots of picture books with the girls, I thought this one would be fun to review as it is not just a children’s picture book but also heavily indebted to D&D’s monster manual for its monsters. This means that all geeky parents who at one time or another have slung the dice, be they tangible or virtual, will be entertained by Herz’s reimagined children’s ditties.
Abigail Larson’s illustrations suit the subject matter well, being reminiscent of traditional D&D art, but in her own distinct style and with interesting colour palettes. I like her spiky line art and the little details she drops into the background of the illustrations. My favourite illustrations were those accompanying Little Witch Muffet, Sing a Song of Six Sprites, and Manticore, Manticore.
Of course, I couldn’t review a picture book and not ask Emma, my four-year-old, for input. She basically liked all the the pictures with female characters in them and the rhymes set to ones she actually knows in Dutch. Her favourites were Little Witch Muffet and Mary Had a Hippogriff, because they both featured a girl and she recognised the rhyme.
Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes was very entertaining and a fun book to read together with Emma. If you’re a geeky parent wanting to share some geekiness with your little ones or you just loves picture books and geeky things, then this is certainly one to check out. In the mean time, I’ve been instructed by Emma to purchase the book, because ‘we need to have this, because I like it.’ I guess that’s a pretty good endorsement right there.