I don’t know where I got this book or who may have gotten it for one of the kids, but the other day I noticed it on the shelf and decided to flip through.
As I was reading some of the rhymes I was reminded of this article about how picture book sales are down because parents are pushing their children to read “chapter books”. One book-store buyer noted that “Some of the vocabulary in a picture book is much more challenging than in a chapter book…The words themselves, and the concepts, can be very sophisticated in a picture book.”
Why yes it is. On this one page of alphabet rhymes there are MANY words and concepts that are stretching Francesca.
A was an angler/ Went out in a fog;/ Who fished all the day,/And caught only a frog
(Had to explain what an angler was and what was happening in the “story”. It’s a different thing to understand poetic verse.)
E was an egg,/ In a basket with more,/ Which Peggy would sell/ For a shilling a score
(Had to explain a shilling, about how much it is worth. Had to look up how many a “score” was -it’s 20- and had to explain how we sell eggs by the dozen and how many a dozen is.)
F was a fox,/ So cunning and sly,/ Who looked at the hen-roost-/ I need not say why
(Great vocab here. Cunning, sly, and hens roosting. Asking her to think about why a fox might want to watch the hens.)
Because there is SO much to discuss in each of these little rhymes, and because I want her to practice saying them herself, we are only going over one or two at a time. The pictures accompanying each rhyme (and throughout the whole book) are so well done. Detailed and vibrant. Frankly, I’m really enjoying soaking up this book a little bit more than I have in the past.
In addition to vocab and a more sophisticated word structure, Mother Goose is part of cultural literacy. Perhaps because it is seen as a book “for babies” it is easily set aside once the child gets a bit older. But really, once they get a bit older is when they’ll really be able to appreciate it!
Francesca’s favorite right now is “There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe…” She really laughs at that one (the illustration is really cute) and asks me to read it again and again. She never laughed at the poems when she was three.
I also believe that if kids get used to the language and rhythm of these older classic poems and stories, it can only be of help to them as they begin to read and comprehend more complex literature when they get older.
Have a wonderful day!