Bonnie and Ben rhyme again by Mem Fox

cover image

Ill. by Judy Horacek. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742996240
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Nursery rhymes. Rhyme. Bonnie and Ben go for a walk with their friend, Skinny Doug. As they walk they see various things: a hill, a sheep, a plum tree, rose bushes and a spider. Each sighting elicits the same response, 'there was no hesitation, the two of them said', and Skinny Doug and the children launch into the nursery rhyme which suits the situation.
Sighting the tree is followed by Jack and Jill, while seeing a sheep, means the text launches into 'Baa baa black sheep', and the roses are followed by 'Ring a ring of roses' and so on for three more well known rhymes. Each nursery rhyme cries out for children to join in, as they will with exuberance, calling out the well known lines and joining in with the person reading the story. Coming back home, stars overhead create the situation for the nursery rhyme 'Twinkle twinkle little star' to be heard and enjoyed by the group.
What a wonderful way to introduce children to nursery rhymes, or to reiterate those known to children, and to encourage them to join in, say the rhymes out loud, laugh and predict.
Horacek's illustrations are just wonderful, using colour and figures so known and loved in Where is the green sheep? Readers will love the illustrations that reveal each nursery rhyme, and smile at the addition of each of the characters of the rhymes to the trio, Doug, Bonnie and Ben going for their walk.
Readers will love recognising each nursery rhyme character added to the entourage, and join in with the repeated lines as well as the nursery rhyme. The endpapers add another level of interest with a simple map of their walk, asking students to recognise each of the six places where a nursery rhyme is said encouraging them again to say the nursery rhyme out loud. Children and adults alike will have a lot of fun with this sparkling new book from Fox and Horacek, and I can imagine Mem Fox reading it with panache.
Fran Knight