Review Blog

Jan 30 2012

The Cat and the Fiddle: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Jackie Morris

cover image

Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1845079871.
(Age: 0+) Highly recommended. Jackie Morris has carefully chosen 40 well-known and less well-known nursery rhymes and illustrated them in her outstanding style. Included are family favourites such as Baa black sheep, Ride a cock-horse and Hickory dickory dock and unfamiliar ones like The hart and the hare and Jumping Joan.
Most of the rhymes take up a double page spread of beautiful, eye-catching illustrations done in watercolours. The details are so gorgeous that it becomes a book to pore over and revisit time and again. I especially loved All the pretty little horses where mother and baby are pulled along in a tented coach by six magnificent white horses and escorted by 'pretty little horses. Black and bay and dappled and grey'. Another thing that really caught my attention was the size of the animals in relation to the people. Baa baa black sheep for example, has a sheep as large as a camel, carrying skeins of wool in a pack on its back. A touch of humour is added with the sheep dog carrying a ball of wool for its mistress who is knitting as she strides along. Each illustration will stimulate the imagination and leave the reader to dream about beautiful women with long flowing hair, impish boys, and fabulous animals and flowers.
This is book that I believe is very likely to become a classic and highly collectable like the books of the illustrator, Errol le Cain. Most importantly, though, it is a book that is sure to enchant everyone who chants the rhymes and delights in the glorious illustrations.
Pat Pledger

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