Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mother Goose's PAJAMA PARTY

     Mother Goose's nursery rhymes are old news--until a book finds a way to make them new again. And author Danna Smith and illustrator Virginia Allyn do just that in their book releasing today!

Title: Mother Goose's PAJAMA PARTY
Author: Danna Smith
Illustrator: Virginia Allyn
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2015
Intended age: 3-7 

Themes: Sleepovers, familiar characters, rhyme

First lines: "Star light, star bright, come to story time tonight. Bring your friends and don't be late. Meet at my house - half past eight.   --Mother Goose"

Synopsis: Mother Goose invites a parade of characters from her nursery rhymes for story time and a sleepover.

Why I like this Book: The colorful illustrations pulled me in and I paged through this book once without reading the text.  Featuring a multicultural--and multispecies--cast, the opening double page spread with Mother Goose's invitation written in the stars perfectly captures the magical feeling that makes the story work. Can the moon talk? Of course it can! Can animals talk to people? Of course! The gorgeous harlequin pattern from the endpapers is carried throughout on rugs in everyone's houses. One tiny detail that stopped me--Miss Muffet runs "to pick a bright bouquet" but I didn't see her flowers in the illustrations. Maybe that's why she looks grumpy in the following spread?
    The author's lively rhyming text introduces each character and leads them across this fairy tale world to a cozy bed. (Actually sleeping at a pajama party is one element that may not ring true, lol!) Perhaps having some prior knowledge of the traditional rhymes would enhance a reader's understanding and enjoyment. But if this is your first exposure to them, the author includes the fifteen rhymes that contain the characters as the last eight pages of this forty page book. (I honestly didn't remember Jack-a-Dandy.)

Resources/Activities: There are HUNDREDS of websites that list nursery rhyme activities and you can even sort by pre-school, toddler or elementary age. Here are three of my own book-specific thoughts and one favorite from another site
  • With Halloween upon us this week, perhaps a nursery rhyme character costume is in order!
  • Host a pajama party. Play charades with each child acting out a nursery rhyme character. Read the accompanying rhyme aloud after each character is revealed (pick a favorite stanza to shorten this)
  • Make a game of finding finding familiar characters in the illustrations that aren't mentioned in the text. (I saw the three blind mice and the gingerbread man - are there others?)
  • What ARE curds and whey? Try an education.com science experiment!
  • Learn more about the illustrator's process from Virginia Allyn's interview with Kathy Temean.
Let me know if this is on your reading list! I love to read your comments.
Note: I received a review copy from Random House in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.


  1. Cute take on nursery rhymes which are timeless!

    1. It made me wonder how old these rhymes are! Apparently, from my brief research, they are centuries old.

  2. This sounds like a great story! I like the cover a lot! :)

    1. Me, too! I want to snag a ride on that goose. :)

  3. Nice to know there is a version with multi-cultural characters. I love the activities you shared!