For today's Poetry Friday title I have a book of poetry that I found extremely entertaining. Imagine what it would be like if Mother Goose was a character living in the present day. What would her poems be about? If she is the kind of person who likes to shake people up a little, she might write poems very much like the ones in this book.
Barbara Wyn Klunder
Groundwood, 2007, 978-0-88899-829-3
For generations, parents have been reading Mother Goose rhymes to their children. Again and again the spider has scared Little Miss Muffet, the baby has fallen from the tree “cradle and all,” and this little piggy has gone squealing “all the way home.” These rhymes are truly timeless, and will be enjoyed by young children and their families for years to come, but now Barbara Wyn Klunder has created some new versions of these rhymes that address some of the issues that exist in our world today. Her rhymes are not for the very young, instead they are suit older children and even adults, and they are both funny, and thought provoking.
The collection begins with Little Miss Muffet who is not sitting eating her curds and whey. Instead, she is trying her best, along with the spider, not to choke on second-hand smoke. That famous baby in the tree top is asking for “All this logging to stop.” After all, “trees breathe in / What we breathe out. /That’s what Nature / is all about.”
Further on in the book there is poor Humpty Dumpty who is once again in a pickle. This time he is not falling off a wall though. This time the big egg is trying to avoid the water of a lake, which is full of “All the king’s chemicals, /All the king’s waste.”
Without a doubt, this collection of poems will make readers laugh. They will also make readers think, because they look at problems that are of real concern to people. The poems look at environmental issues, social issues, and much more, and they dare to be controversial and, in some ways, subversive.