A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
On the surface, The Real Dada Mother Goose (adapted from the 1916 classic The Real Mother Goose) is all about being extremely silly in new and creative ways, using well-known nursery rhymes for instructive examples. However, in addition to quite a bit of age-appropriate info about the Dada artist movement in the early 20th century, it offers a lot of suggestions about how to be creatively silly using codes, games, languages (including Esperanto) and more. Also introduces the fact that there are lots of languages and gives an example of how a phrase changes when you translate it into different languages and then back to the original. The notes in the back give a brief history of Mother Goose, as well as more details about the codes, languages, and other creative tools for sending secret messages.
Promotes creativity, humor, and learning to use new tools.
Positive Role Models
The funny narrator encourages curiosity and wordplay.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jon Scieszka's The Real Dada Mother Goose is hard to categorize but a lot of fun. As it claims, it's "a treasury of complete nonsense," and an exercise in finding new ways to be really silly. But in the course of doing those things, kids will also learn about the Dada art movement and its fondness for inspired nonsense. Silly transformations of nursery rhymes are a launching pad for learning about crossword puzzles, codes (from Egyptian hieroglyphics to Morse code, reverse alphabet to rebus and beyond), plus an intriguing use of computer translation to play a version of Telephone, in which "All the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again" passes through Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Latin, reemerging as "All horses are kings, and all men are kings; I can't meddle with Humpty." There's a lot to explore here, and endless possibilities for having fun with what you might find.
Is It Any Good?
You think you're being silly, but working your way through Jon Scieszka's collection of fractured nursery rhymes, you'll learn quite a lot. The Real Dada Mother Goose invites you to explore what happens when you change things up a bit in well-known verses, whether you choose to encode them in Egyptian hieroglyphics or tell their tale in a book report. Julia Rothman's colorful, whimsical illustrations transform the classic 1916 originals to draw readers young and old into the fun, offering endless possibilities for further exploration.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.