Exhibit Opening | Animals in Rhyme: The Friends of Mother Goose

Mother Goose depicted as a cheerful elderly woman in a pilgrim's hat riding a white goose wearing a waistcoat through the air

Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose: One Hundred Best-Loved Verses. Mary Engelbreit, selector and illustrator. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2005.

Animals in Rhyme: The Friends of Mother Goose celebrates Mother Goose and the many animal-themed rhymes ascribed to her. Opening on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 in the Lower Level Display Cases at AADL Downtown Library, this exhibit will be on display until Thursday, January 14, 2016. We hope you will also join us for Stories from the Friends of Mother Goose on Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 1-2pm in the AADL Multipurpose Room. Ann Arbor Storytellers Guild members Beverly Black, Steve Daut, Laura Lee Hayes, and Jennifer Otto will lead attendees in a fun-filled hour of animal stories and rhymes for the Pre-K and early elementary crowd! 

Nursery rhymes speak to many aspects of childhood through simple rhymes and rhythms. They help children understand routines like household chores or bedtime rituals as repetitive activities and forms of play. They legitimize imaginative spaces and whimsical fancies, like a cow jumping over the moon, in ways that other genres and media often do not. No matter the century, nursery rhymes always seem to have a place. Some, such as “The Death of Cock Robin” are believed to date back to the Medieval period - a time when the pronunciation of the “Owl” who dug Cock Robin’s grave would have rhymed with the “pick and shovel” used to dig it. Others, like “Lazy Elsie Marley,” can be traced to popular ballads of the 18th century, while a few have known authors in the comparatively recent past, such as Edward Lear’s 1871 “The Owl and the Pussycat.”

Drawing on the University of Michigan Special Collections Library's Children's Literature Collection and the William A. Gosling Pop-up and Movable Book Collection, this exhibit includes the rhymes mentioned above and many more Mother Goose gems, displaying the work of some of the most talented illustrators of the past 150 years. Enjoy the lively pen & ink drawings and idealized domestic scenes of Victorian illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886), the gentle, folk-art style of Tomie dePaolo (1934- ), the intricate paper engineering of Robert Sabuda (1965- ) and Matthew Reinhart (1971- ), and much more as you discover familiar (and some unfamiliar) animal friends in print and on parade.

Donkey braying in the foreground; cow (or goat?) in a barn in the background)
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Salley Mavor, illustrator. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. Gift of William A. Gosling.