Pocketful of Posies by Salley Mavor. I recently reviewed Salley Mavor’s book Felt Wee Folk, and discovered this book in the process. This is her latest effort, a collection of nursery rhymes illustrated with her signature felt and found object dioramas with the little dolls, here looking more involved yet than in her how-to book. It is stunning. I hauled this book around everywhere with me for three weeks, showing it off to people whenever I could pry it away from my toddler, and everyone I showed it to was sucked into exploring the details. There’s the look of exasperation on the Old Woman in the Shoe’s face, embroidered rain drops, little silver jingle bells growing on plants in Mistress Mary’s garden. There are branches used for roofs, shells and acorn caps, buttons and beads mixed in. I read that she spent a month on each page, and it’s easy to believe. Some rhymes have a whole page devoted to them, while others are grouped thematically, with illustrations flowing from one rhyme to the next. For example, one spread shows a street full of village shops and includes rhymes relating to them. The rhymes seemed to me a good mix of familiar and new, including things like Simple Simon and Polly Put the Kettle on, but also I Eat my Peas with Honey. The language is slightly modified from what I grew up with, but, unlike many modern nursery rhyme collections, the rhymes are not updated to fit modern values. (Though I won’t whip my children, I think I’d rather edit the text on the fly myself if I think they’ll be bothered by it than have it edited out for me.) This is now my favorite nursery rhyme collection, and I’m planning on adding it to our home collection this year.
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