7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #361: Featuring David McPhail

h1 December 15th, 2013 by jules

I love to see a beautifully-crafted Mother Goose collection, and there’s a new one on shelves — David McPhail’s My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes, Songs, and Concepts, released by Roaring Brook in October.

As the sub-title indicates, these are classic nursery rhymes—McPhail sticks to the most beloved ones and doesn’t throw any terribly obscure rhymes into the mix—but he also occasionally pauses to introduce concepts. In between, “Great A, little a, Bouncing B” and “London Bridge,” readers pause for an entertaining “My ABCs” spread. Later, readers look at how Henry the Bear gets around (covered wagon, unicycle, train, etc.). There are also numbers, shapes, colors, etc.

McPhail opens the book with a note about what nursery rhymes meant to him as a child, and he talks about memories of his own mother reciting them to him — and how he now recites them to his own grandchildren. The book closes with an index of first lines.

In November at the New York Times (here), Leonard Marcus wisely noted that McPhail’s characters in this collection, as you can see in the illustrations featured here, “are wistful daydreamers who bear a certain family resemblance to those first seen in children’s book art in the path-finding early illustration work of Maurice Sendak.” There are even moments that smack of Richard Scarry. These pen-and-ink watercolor illustrations invite us into a cozy, intimate world.

Here are some more illustrations from the book. Enjoy.

(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”
(Click to enlarge)

(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)



MY MOTHER GOOSE. Copyright © 2013 by David McPhail. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, New York.

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Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I’m going to forego seven, separate kicks this week. My apologies, but I have a ton of work on my plate. If I take a break, though, to come here and read your kicks, why, it’d be the loveliest of all lovely things, so do tell me what they are, if you’re so inclined.

More from me next week, I promise!

12 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #361: Featuring David McPhail”

  1. *sleigh bells jingling*


    *leaves cookies and hot chocolate*

  2. Thanks, mrs. b! Happy holidays, and safe travels to you!

  3. Good morning Jules and other readers! As soon as I saw this book’s release I knew I had to have it for my collection. I’ve been waiting to read it but now…it’s moved to the top of my pile.
    I am sending you good vibes Jules to get everything done but still have time to savor the little things.
    Hello, Jama! You are my favorite foodie!
    My kicks:
    1. Working on the Mock Caldecott again this week with 5th graders. Voting has finished.
    2. Feeling good about #Nerdlution commitments
    3. Reading Kirby Larson’s latest book, Duke
    4. Decorating the tree
    5. Watching the movie Epic; delightful, heartwarming
    6. Snow
    7. Walks with Xena

    Have a wonderful, happy, safe week everyone.

  4. Ooh, I think I have a new book on my wish list
    Jules, good luck with your endeavors today. I agree with Margie.
    Jama, thanks for the hot chocolate and cookies.
    Margie, I am happy that you are doing well with your #NerdLution. I need to get back to mine.
    It’s been a challenging two weeks of December. Yesterday was the service for my friend and it was beautiful. My kicks this week are all in the honoring a fabulous teacher and a wonderful friend, seeing her former students, and the being glad to be in such a supportive community.

  5. Fly by posting! Good morning, everyone! Hope you are having a great weekend. I am in tech rehearsal all day. Take care! 🙂

  6. fly by-ish… busy day: (youngest kiddo just home from college, husband untangling lights on roof, untrimmed tree staring at me.

    Love nursery rhymes (well, any well-done rhymes) and this book looks charming.

    jules – good luck cleaning your plate, jama – like your seasonal sound fx, Margie – will check out Kirby’s latest, Jone – sorry for your loss, glad for your uplifting community.

    My kicks: 1. Big Sur Writing Workshop faculty gig last weekend was wonderful–hardworking writers, and strolling through the redwoods. 2. Told all my mentorees there to come here, to 7-Imp, to bone up on the illustration side of their craft (such a service you do, Jules!) 3. My freshman kiddo still asleep in his room upstairs. 4. My niece’s baked blueberry french toast recipe (for Xmas morning?) 5. Writing milestones. 6. Holiday parties. 7. Playing fetch with my Bengal kitty.

    Have a very, merry week kickers et al.

  7. LW – sailed by you in cyberspace. Have a good rehearsal.

  8. Margie, isn’t it just beautiful (this book, that is)? Yes, I’m taking time for the little things. Promise! But thanks for lookin’ out for me. This work is last-minute book-related stuff (Wild Things!, that is). …Ooh! Voting is done! Can’t wait to hear the results! Lots of exclamation marks there, but these things are exciting.

    Jone, big ol’, big ol’ HUG.

    Little Willow: Break a leg, as always!

    Denise: Aw, thanks, for kick #2. Enjoy having family home for the holidays, and have fun trimming that tree. (It’s embarrassing how many years it took me to figure out trimming didn’t actually mean taking scissors to it.)

  9. Oh, these are lovely!

    Flyby kicks as well, busy holiday season! Hope everyone is staying warm – have a great week!

  10. You too, Rachel!

  11. Jules: Thanks! We open on Wednesday! 🙂 Sending you good thoughts and confidence as you work.

    Jama: Thank you for the virtual treats. Happy holidays!

    Rachel: Layers upon layers to stay warm – and it’s nowhere near as cold here as in other parts of the world. I can’t imagine how people manage in below-zero temperatures.

    Denise: Dankeschoen! Enjoy your family time and foodstuffs. Hope those were happy writing milestones. Hug the cat for me, please.

    Jone: Sending you and yours another round of support and comfort.

    Margie: Great list of kicks!

  12. Mother Goose really is timeless, and these illustrations are adorable 🙂

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