Mother Goose books have delighted children for hundreds of years. The rhythmic, rhyming verses are universally appealing to young children and should be a foundation in every home library. Mother Goose books vary considerably in length, wording, style of illustration and durability and there are some useful things to consider when choosing one (or more) for your child.
One of your first considerations is the number of verses offered. Are the verses all on one page or offered on a two-page spread? If a page must be turned, are there illustrations for the rhyme on the new page? Books that offer more verses are generally better because you can choose to read a few or many as you like or that your child can enjoy without losing focus or interest.
Another consideration must be the illustrations. For many children, the pictures matter as much as the words. When evaluating Mother Goose books consider if you like the style of illustrations. Are the colors appealing? Does your child find the illustrations appealing? You can tell by watching how long your very young child looks at the pictures. Your older child will be able to comment on the pictures that go along with the words. Is there one style of illustration or do different rhymes have different styles of illustrations? Are different cultures or backgrounds represented? Do the illustrations match the words? (Is what you are reading shown in the pictures?) How well does the medium (method used for making the illustration) “work” at enhancing the poem?
Words can make or break the joy in any book. Are the words more traditional or has the language been updated? If the language has been changed, does the Mother Goose rhyme still have its original rhythm and rhyme? Is the rhyming pattern the same throughout? Are the Mother Goose rhymes organized in a recognizable way? This might be by theme, character, activity or some other way.
Great books that fall apart quickly lose their appeal just as rapidly. Do consider the durability of the book. Is the paper of good quality? Are the pages thick enough for easy turning by young hands? If the Mother Goose book is a board book, is the cardboard thick enough to withstand many readings and interactions?
Finally, design and organization really can enhance or ruin your reading experience. Is there a way to find a particular rhyme such as a table of contents or index? If there is an index, can you search by title or first line of the rhyme?
Mother Goose books can be read from birth throughout the elementary years. Choosing one you and your child love will serve you for many years to come.