Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls by Lucy Nolan
Illustrated By: Connie McLennan
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Sylvan Dell
Publication Date: August 2009
Today's is Talk Like a Pirate Day so I can think of no better time to share with you a review of Sylvan Dell's Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls; a book celebrating the world of nursery rhymes "from sea to shining sea". Everyone enjoys nursery rhymes, and most of the ones in this book will be probably seem oddly reminiscent of the ones you yourself were read as a child. But don't worry that this is going to be just another reprint of a collection you already have on your child's shelf. No, quite the contrary, because what you'll find here, in each rhyme, is a clever new rendition of Mother Goose's own original verses. Set to a tune that celebrates all things piratey and of watery goodness, Mother Osprey is a nonpareil.
Move over Mother Goose; Lucy Nolan is in the house! The whimsical quality of Nolan's new retelling of yesterday's nursery rhymes is irrefutable. The way Nolan took every rhyme, no matter the original topic, and rewrote it to tell a completely different story, while maintaining the initial cadence, is both creative and ingenious. And technically speaking, she did it flawlessly. As did Connie McLennan, who skillfully produced the classic style illustrations which also add to the fun, lighthearted tone of this book.
Plus, did you know that even while your child is reading nursery rhymes he can be learning too? It's true. Because no Sylvan Dell book can be complete without some form of educational gold dust sprinkled throughout. They are nursery rhymes, so naturally there are some that are comprised of nothing but sheer silliness. There are others, however, that actually take the time to educate while entertaining. Take for instance the rhyme titled "One Flamingo". In this amusing little piece readers get schooled on the names and classes of several waterfront creatures. (Example: Jellyfish in a group are called a smack and geese in a group are called a gaggle.)
There's more, of course, in the 'Creative Minds' section at the tail end of the book. The first two page spread focuses in on one or two particular aspects of each poem, and then offers more fun details about each. (Example: The fun fact for "Buoys & Gulls" explains what a buoy and gull really are.) Then there's a two page map that later ties in to a fun activity sheet where the reader is asked to located different things on the map. There are also a few poem-related questions that will test the readers knowledge and understanding of a handful of the poems. And last but not least, there's a small segment that simply allows readers to discuss the importance of water, the key component found in each nursery rhyme found in Mother Osprey.
So even if you're dubious as to how a rhyme originally penned about a lamb can be recreated to feature a clam or how one originally about a shoe now includes a shell, you should be sure to give this new collection a chance. It's remarkably funny, and I can almost bet you'll find yourself secretly trying to relearn your classic favorites with today's new spin.
OUR RATING: 5 hearts