‘Have you ever, ever, ever
In your incy-wincy life
Seen an incy-wincy spider
With his incy-wincy wife?‘
So begins a dialogue between a small boy sitting in a drab, sterile urban playground and an unseen interrogator (the author). As he plays alone he is asked to entertain the possibilities for a host of nursery rhyme characters including the fiddling cat, Peter Piper and Goosey Gander with their respective wives. As the interrogation continues Mother Goose herself flies to the rescue to lead him to the door of a very special building wherein these and a host of other fabulous characters await.
McNaughton revels in the richness and playfulness of language using rhyme, repetition, alliteration and nonsense words and phrases in this homage to the heritage of the nursery rhyme. Chichester Clark’s illustrations, the flamboyant colours and detailed decoration for the nursery rhyme scenes contrasting with the almost monochrome alternate spreads of the boy’s world, speak powerfully of how important it is that every child has access to books and libraries as well as being the perfect complement to McNaughton’s words.