A Pocketful of Posies, by one of my favorite illustrators, Salley Mavor.
I often give a book of nursery rhymes as my standard new baby gift. I know from my professional work as a child psychologist that exposure to nursery rhymes has a powerful effect on later reading skills (see, for example, this very readable review of some of the research on rhymes and "phonemic awareness"). Perhaps even more importantly, I know from my experiences as a mom and a former day care and preschool teacher, that cuddling up with a good book of rhymes has strong emotional benefits for both kids and caregivers.
There are several things that make this collection stand out from the dozens of options available:
|Little Miss Muffet from A Pocketful of Posies by Salley Mavor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)|
What's also remarkable about the artwork is how it appeals to a huge age range. Even young infants are attracted to the crisply photographed 3-D images and bright colors, older babies are drawn to the textures and sense of action, and toddlers on up through adults can not get enough of the detail.
|Tree detail from A Pocketful of Posies by Salley Mavor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)|
Organization Often the order of rhymes in a Mother Goose collection seems arbitrary. But Mavor has arranged the rhymes overall to follow the rhythms of a child's day from waking up and doing chores through playtime and sleep. This arrangement not only gives the book a sense of "story" but makes it easy for a parent to read just a few rhymes to suit the moment's activity when there isn't time for a longer story session. Mavor's also grouped rhymes on similar topics together, so that the illustrations for different rhymes blend seamlessly into a single scene, and children are subtly exposed to the concepts of repetition and variation on a theme.
I hope you'll be blown away by this book too. If you liked this book, you'll want to check out Mavor's website and frequently updated blog, as well as her other books, some of which I've pictured below:
Short and sweet text - and art that creates a warm and a cozy home and features a child of color.
Sadly, many of these books are not currently in print, so you may be limited to buying used copies or borrowing them from the library. But you can keep an eye on the availability of all of Mavor's books on her Amazon page here.