Nursery Rhyme Comics

I was on the fence about picking up Nursery Rhyme Comics from First Second.

On the one hand, creators such as Gene Yang, Raina Telgemeier, Mike Mignola, Tony Millionaire, Kate Beaton, and Craig Thompson all contributed to this collection.  On the other hand, I (and my children) are a bit old for a collection of nursery rhymes.

But the allure of so many independent creators under one cover was too great to resist!

When the book arrived, my eleven year old daughter (author of In the DJ Booth) casually picked up the book and thumbed through it.  Before I knew it, she had curled up with the book and was engrossed.  The book went with her in the car to Taekwondo.  The book went with her to friends’ houses.  The book was held above the head of her little sister.  Clearly there was something special about this book…I just had to wrestle it from my daughter.

So, I did what any good parent of a black belt child would do.  I waited until she was asleep and then I snuck in to her room and pried it from her steely grasp.

Nursery Rhyme Comics lived up to the all-star talent it boasted.  The concept is brilliant.  By giving creators a nursery rhyme with which everyone is familiar, the art has a chance to shine.  The words of the rhymes are secondary to the joy that comes from these creators doing their best to make something so familiar seem both fresh and engaging.  It would be better to think of this as an art book with a theme as opposed to an actual book of nursery rhymes.

I think it is safe to say that Craig Thompson’s rendition of The Owl and the Pussycat steals the show.  Everything from the linework to the coloring to the lettering is lush and lyrical.  I find myself pouring over each panel repeatedly, examining each line.  There is such joy and richness in those three pages.  It is a far cry beyond so much else being published.  It makes me crave Thompson’s upcoming Habibi that much more!

I worry that people will pass over this book of “nursery rhymes” because they are “too old for that” or they don’t have children.  That would be a real shame since First Second has done such a wonderful job creating a fun and unexpected delight.  Don’t miss this book!

Nursery Rhyme Comics is due from First Second in October.

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