What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the prose is fluid in this odd and old-fashioned story. The black-and white illustrations complement the text but are not appealing to today's readers.
What's the story?
Jennie, a Scottie dog who lives in a cushy setting, packs his bag when he decides "there must be more to life than having everything." He runs into a pig who wears a sandwich board advertising for a leading lady for the World Mother Goose Theatre.
But Pig informs Jennie that she needs experience for such a job, which Jennie proceeds to go get by signing on as a nanny to a baby who won't eat.
A wrong turn in a hallway finds Jennie confronting a lion that wants to turn her into dinner, but the dog's courageous act saves the day and nets her a leading part in the play--but only after it is revealed that the baby is actually Mother Goose and that all the other characters are also actors. The book ends with a rendition of the play Higglety Pigglety Pop.
Is it any good?
The five-line Mother Goose rhyme of the title is the inspiration for this fairy tale-like story of a dog leaving home in search of excitement. The tale takes some strange turns, and has some unsettling moments -- such as parents having moved away and forgotten their baby -- that could give readers pause.
The overall look of the book is as old-fashioned as the story itself. Small, crosshatched, black-and-white illustrations are reminiscent of the artwork of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and may not hold the attention of today's readers, who are used to full-color and full-page spreads. The story is moody and full of droll humor, more often to the delight of adults than that of children. Young children may like the dog and other animal characters, but they will not understand the archaic phrasing and may grow impatient with the low picture-to-text ratio.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about Jennie's decision to leave home. She seems to have a comfortable life. Why is she restless? What is she looking for?