In this collection the poet reworks 32 familiar nursery rhymes substituting animals for the original characters, reflecting his love of and fascination with the wildlife of the rural Trinidad of his childhood. So, it’s not rock-a-bye baby in a cradle but rock-a-bye birdie in its nest, Little Jack Zebra who spits out his plum, Twinkle, Twinkle butterfly and Little Miss Zebra who sits by the river, chewing her curds and hay. Best read after listening to the accompanying CD, Faustin Charles’ mellifluous cadences reinforce in the memory, the rhyme and rhythm of the originals.
Clearly this is not a first nursery rhyme collection, as children will need to know the original rhymes to get maximum enjoyment from, and fully appreciate these alternative versions. Michael Terry’s (of Selfish Crocodile fame) bold paintings are bursting with vigour and humour.