Friday, July 29, 2011

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles review

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles
by Will Hillenbrand
Marshall Cavendish Children's
March 2011

In a series of rebus picture rhymes, Hillenbrand shares several classic Mother Goose favorites such as Jack and Jill, Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole, Wee Willie Winkie and more. These are short versions of the most popular rhymes in the Mother Goose oeuvre, perfect for one's first introduction to Mother Goose. Large, colorful illustrations make this a pleasant read-aloud for groups, and everything is labeled, Richard Scarry style. The slightly hearty 40 pages makes this a little longer than the typical picture book, but still not too much to read in one sitting. Hillenbrand cleverly interlinks the rhymes by showing tiny figures in the background, who then feature in the next rhyme. For instance, Hey Diddle, Diddle shows a well with a boy and girl running up a hill. Sure enough, the next page features Jack and Jill, tumbling down into a pumpkin patch, and the page after that features Peter, Pumpkin Eater, while the cow that jumped over the moon continues to hang out for several pages. This gives readers the pleasant sensation that they are strolling through Mother Goose Land, observing its inhabitants as they travel along.

Will Hillenbrand, pointing to the cat with the fiddle.
I was fortunate enough to meet Will Hillenbrand at the recent American Library Association convention, and he showed us his process for creating the art. Everything starts from a hand-drawn sketch, which is then scanned into a computer, colorized and tweaked. He showed us mock-ups, with just the background, and then showed us how foreground characters, fonts and rebus-drawings are dropped in.

Artwork layers being added in.

Fascinating stuff! This is a must-have for any library with a Mother Goose collection.

I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. Oh picture puzzles look really fun - there would be an interactive component to the books that most children would love. It's also wonderful that you had the chance to meet the author and actually see mock-ups. Lovely review!

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  3. I loved this book! I can't wait to use it for a nursery rhyme story time. And I might just use some of the individual rhymes for other story times (the kettle rhyme would be perfect for the tea time story time I have planned to the fall).

  4. Thank you for sharing. I'm always looking for more Nursery Rhyme books and I too saw Will Hillenbrand when he was just starting. I love his illustrations.

  5. Picture Puzzles are unique that can be shared by anyone at any time. From 7 year olds to 70 year olds, the picture puzzle hold attention and has done so for over 100 years.



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