No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock
John Agard & Grace Nichols, Illistrated by Cynthia Jabar
Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Candlewick (May 1, 1995)
PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS
"Despite the subtitle of this disparate collection of nearly 40 "Caribbean" verses, only six of its entries are authentic folk rhymes-the remainder are an uneven selection of original poems by the Guyana-born Agard and Nichols. In "Baby-K Rap Rhyme," for example, jaunty stanzas alternate with the refrain "poop po-doop/ poop-poop-po-doop" and unexpectedly lead to a polemic: "Dey pumping up de chickens,/ Dey stumping down de trees,/ Dey messing up de ozones,/ Dey messing up de seas." Mother Goose characters put in occasional appearances (Humpty Dumpty is befriended by "little Hugh/ who fixed him up with super glue"). Other poems celebrate sights and sounds particular to the islands ("A certain old lady from Caribee loved the sound of kis-ka-dee-kis-kis-ka-dee"), and nearly all make use of dialect. But the strongest flavors here derive from Jabar's (How Many How Many How Many) scratchboard illustrations. Full of zest, lit with tropical colors, these pictures fairly dance across the pages. "
"Children will enjoy the rhymes and the parodies in this lively collection that takes Mother Goose to the Caribbean in all her dancing energy and nonsense. The lines have a musical beat, and the scratchboard illustrations capture the island scene with brilliant tropical colors and folk-art exaggeration. Agard has a great ecology rap ("Cause dey pumping up de chickens, / Dey stumping down de trees, / Dey messing up de ozones, / Dey messing up de seas" ). Nichols builds up a funny disaster cumulative rhyme ("De popcorn wouldn't pop" ). Humpty gets put back together with superglue. Not all the pieces are as good, and some of the rhymes fall flat, but the singing sounds and slapstick in a fresh contemporary setting will appeal to those who've had enough of Little Miss Muffet." - Hazel Rochman