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Charles Addams' Mother Goose Paperback – Jan 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks (January 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671961187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671961183
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Amazon

New Yorker cartoonist (and creator of the altogether ooky Addams Family characters) Charles Addams tampers with tradition to great effect in The Charles Addams Mother Goose, first published in 1967, and now reissued as a deluxe edition. While Ms. Goose's original nursery rhymes remain unchanged, Addams casts his spell on a selected few poems with new visual twists. A less wholesome, more anemic Mistress Mary has never been seen, and her bare-lightbulb-lit basement garden of mushrooms and heads of "pretty maids all in a row" is quite unsettling. Jack Sprat and his wife are, of course, cannibals. Nine-day-old porridge is disgusting... so naturally a witch is the porridge preparer, and goblins are the only ones who would like it "nine days old." Humpty Dumpty's story, on the other hand, feels a little cheerier than the original: rather than leaving the egg irreparably broken, the illustrator shows a dinosaur hatching! Tee Addams, Charles Addams's wife, writes an insightful introduction for this lovely, oversized edition, and the book closes with a scrapbook of family photos and pictures of Addams's earlier work. Kids familiar with Mother Goose's rhymes will be delighted (and perhaps only slightly terrified) by Addams's playful interpretations. (All ages) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of the Addams Family creator and New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams are sure to savor the deliciously twisted take on nursery rhymes in The Charles Addams Mother Goose. First issued in 1967, the work trumps tradition, spicing up the original verse with offbeat illustrations. For "Rain, Rain, go away,/ Come again another day" Addams imagines a flood of apocalyptic proportions taking over Manhattan, leaving a small family adrift on a rooftop and the Statue of Liberty submerged. A scrapbook contains vintage cover art and family photos. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Addams' wit, even more than his illustrations, makes this book a five-star classic. It isn't hard to imagine a macabre picture accompanying "Three Blind Mice," but Addams goes further than the typical fare by including Grant Wood's "American Gothic" couple (as the farmer and his wife) and giving Mrs. Farmer an electric carving knife to de-tail the mice. Casting a mobster and beatnik as the "rat" and "cat" in the "House that Jack Built" poem is another master stroke. ...and just what have Mr. Sprat and his wife eaten?
My favorite illustration accompanies "Fishy, fishy in the brook/Daddy catch him on a hook...." Could anyone but Addams create a "Daddy" with a Capt. Hook-style prosthetic at the end of his arm? Classic. ("Little Miss Muffet" runs a close second to this poem and illustration.)
The "scrapbook" is a nice addition at the end of the book, but it doesn't quite live up to the blurb on the front of the dust jacket.
The only drawback to the book is that when the picture spans two pages so much of the illustration gets sucked into the binding. This most noticably detracts from poems like "The Old Woman Who Lived Under a Hill" and "St. Dunstan," where the heart of the illustration takes place in the center of the image.
All in all, a great book; even the minor detractions serve to make you want more of Addams delightfully twisted artwork.
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Format: Hardcover
This book contains only a couple dozen of the best rhymes. No illustration is smaller than a single page, and many cover two. The paper cover's artwork is also printed directly on the hard board binding, so the paper cover can be torn or discarded with no real loss. It is about 9"x11" in size. I read this last night and repeatedly laughed out loud at the bizarre and darkly humorous renditions of my childhood favorites. Characters from his signature "Addams Family" cartoons can be identified in some. One of my favorite drawings accompanies wee-willie-winkie. Compare Addams vision of a demented and ghoulish peeping-tom to the sweet night-watchman of Richardson in the Volland edition. I seriously question whether or not this material is even appropriate for children age 4-8 (as suggested above). However, it seems to me eminently suitable for adults with a love of Mother Goose or Charles Addams, or both.
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By A Customer on Dec 23 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was so pleased to find a re-print of this, the Mother Goose of my childhood. Yep, my parents gave me this Charles Addams -- and I've never been quite right since.
The hours I spent poring over pictures of the cadaverous Wee Willie Winkie, the Frankenstein-esque Dr. Fell, and little Wednesday Addams skipping rope alone, under a single streetlight . . . all these wonderful frissons were restored to me with this re-issue. Mother Goose wears Chuck Taylors!
If you love Gorey, Burton, and Lynch, you'll love the "Charles Addams Mother Goose."
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Format: Hardcover
This gorgeous rediscovered treasure is a wonderful spoof on the original Mother Goose, lending a macabre feel to the classic warm rhymes. Black and white illustrations as well as color drawings provide quite a different interpretation of the rhymes � youngsters with some maturity familiar with the old favorites will find this a treasure � as will their parents.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Creepy Fun for Kids of All Ages Nov. 17 2003
By C. T. Mikesell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Addams' wit, even more than his illustrations, makes this book a five-star classic. It isn't hard to imagine a macabre picture accompanying "Three Blind Mice," but Addams goes further than the typical fare by including Grant Wood's "American Gothic" couple (as the farmer and his wife) and giving Mrs. Farmer an electric carving knife to de-tail the mice. Casting a mobster and beatnik as the "rat" and "cat" in the "House that Jack Built" poem is another master stroke. ...and just what have Mr. Sprat and his wife eaten?
My favorite illustration accompanies "Fishy, fishy in the brook/Daddy catch him on a hook...." Could anyone but Addams create a "Daddy" with a Capt. Hook-style prosthetic at the end of his arm? Classic. ("Little Miss Muffet" runs a close second to this poem and illustration.)
The "scrapbook" is a nice addition at the end of the book, but it doesn't quite live up to the blurb on the front of the dust jacket.
The only drawback to the book is that when the picture spans two pages so much of the illustration gets sucked into the binding. This most noticably detracts from poems like "The Old Woman Who Lived Under a Hill" and "St. Dunstan," where the heart of the illustration takes place in the center of the image.
All in all, a great book; even the minor detractions serve to make you want more of Addams delightfully twisted artwork.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ghoulishly delightful vision for grownups Jan. 3 2003
By Peter B. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book contains only a couple dozen of the best rhymes. No illustration is smaller than a single page, and many cover two. The paper cover's artwork is also printed directly on the hard board binding, so the paper cover can be torn or discarded with no real loss. It is about 9"x11" in size. I read this last night and repeatedly laughed out loud at the bizarre and darkly humorous renditions of my childhood favorites. Characters from his signature "Addams Family" cartoons can be identified in some. One of my favorite drawings accompanies wee-willie-winkie. Compare Addams vision of a demented and ghoulish peeping-tom to the sweet night-watchman of Richardson in the Volland edition. I seriously question whether or not this material is even appropriate for children age 4-8 (as suggested above). However, it seems to me eminently suitable for adults with a love of Mother Goose or Charles Addams, or both.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Perfect for the young-at-heart ! Dec 11 1998
By Natalie Mintz (anmintz@galaxy-7.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book for those of us who enjoy children's stories. Although it may be a bit too dark for children, it is perfect for "old" kids who have a twisted sense of humor!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Imagine what he could do with the old woman who lived in a shoe Nov. 5 2006
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
With the recent publication of Random House's, "Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life", by Linda H. Davis, rival publishers appear to be looking to their own overstocked warehouses to take advantage of this newest Addams literary craze. At least, that's how I'm interpreting the sudden reappearance of books like Simon and Schuster's, "The Charles Addams Mother Goose", which originally made its republished debut back in 2002, onto our bookstore shelves. Not that I mind, of course. Any republication of the Addams repertoire is fine with me, and had S&S not started sending out this book once again I never would have known what a fine complement C.S.A. made to some of the darker nursery rhymes out there. Mother Goose books come and go, but if you want to go for the memorable, the dark, and the amusing then there really is only one title you should even begin to consider. And it sports a Stephen King by-line on the cover.

Told in about 28 different nursery rhymes, "The Charles Addams Mother Goose" is everything you might expect from that most famous of New Yorker cartoonists. Here you can find all your favorites word-for-word, accompanied by the most peculiar of pictures. The mouse from "Hickory Dickory Dock" takes on enormous proportions. Jack Sprat and his wife seem to have eating habits outside of what we might consider the norm. Even the three blind mice are included, though the carving knife is now of the electric variety. The familiar Addams family characters do indeed make an appearance in some of these poems, and always in a fashion that seems tailor made for them. Plus it takes a kind of genius to be the illustrator who decides that the reason all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again was because out of Humpty hatched a baby dragon/dinosaur/scaly creature. Certainly the unique Addams brand is clear and present in every pic.

Kids who read this book, and there will be quite a few, may find themselves in later years wholly unable to separate Addams' vision from certain peculiar rhymes. Take, for example, that old chestnut "Solomon Grundy". Entirely apart from the fact that his name is now synonymous with a Batman villain, his story here is told in seven/eight panels. "Solomon Grundy, Born on Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday, Took ill on Thursday, Worse on Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday. This is the end of Solomon Grundy." Addams really takes the poem even further, though. His Grundy resembles a slightly undersized and grumpy Uncle Fester. And once he's, "Died on Saturday", his body resembles nothing so much as a cloud of dirty air. Then, wonderfully inexplicably, that same dirty air is put into a corked bottle and thrown into the sea with the line, "Buried on Sunday." It's this kind of random twist on old stand-bys that gives this collection just the right burst of original peculiarity. I'm not even gonna go into the eyedropper of holy water on the second panel or the mysterious mushrooms that grow out of Solomon's head on Thursday.

So which poem wins the Most Likely To Disturb Already Wary Adults Award? It's a toss-up, to my mind, between "Mistress Mary, quite contrary" and "Wee Willie Winkie". On the outset, neither poem seems particularly dark. In "Mistress Mary" however, an unhealthy waif of a woman with dark-lidded eyes and a lifeless expression waters mushrooms in a darkened basement. Lit only by a single bare lightbulb, the mushrooms have begun to sprout feminine heads, each with the creepy cheer of a babydoll's face. The picture looks almost institutional, what with the pale blond's stare into nothingness and the mushrooms' eerie plastered smiles. Compare that, however, to "Wee Willie Winkie". In that picture a boy and girl stare aghast at a window where a ghoul in a nightcap stares unblinkingly at them, his right hand ah-rapping at the pane. The whole picture is tinted a sickly green and blue and you've the feeling that the little boy who is not in bed could be in for some trouble soon.

When you get right down to it, however, maybe the most disturbing part of this book is the Foreword written in 2001 by "Mrs. Charles Addams". In this section, the woman gives a bit of context to the original publication. It came out in the midst of Vietnam. It could be credited to two equally possible sources. But Mrs. Addams goes even further and finds in Charles's work an odd source of, of all things, comfort. "How wonderful to find a dinosaur inside Humpty Dumpty, rather than worrying that he had fallen and couldn't be repaired. Or being reassured that the old woman who lived under the hill had all the comforts of a real home and was better for it." You'll note that she makes no mention of the vampiric Doctor Fell who's poem reads, "I do not like thee, Doctor Fell" or the leather-clad specter of death that shakes hand with a little girl by a graveyard. Countering such an Intro, however, is the remarkable "Mother Goose Scrapbook" compiled at the end of the book. In it we see a poem that "for reasons unknown" was pulled from the original book moments before publication. In it, a worried shepherd holds open the doors of a fallout shelter as his lambs pelt past him into the darkness. A mushroom cloud erupts in the distance. Says the poem, "A red sky at night is a shepherd's delight. A red sky in the morning is a shepherd's warning." Since we've already determined that the book came out in 1967, I doubt the reason for the deletion is all that mysterious at all. Other choice details include New Yorker covers, photographs, book jackets, and even a drawing Charles made at the age of four.

Charles Addams has a following not too dissimilar to the Edward Gorey fans out there. This collection, however, demands to be owned by people outside of the regular obsessives. You can't say that Addams' visions of these nursery rhymes are anything but logical extrapolations. What's more, after repeated viewings they insinuate themselves into your unconscious. I'll never hear "This is the house that Jack built" without visions of knives, bulldogs, and dirty rats again. And I'm okay with that. A must-have purchase for anyone with a penchant for the peculiar.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An off beat book for off beat children and those who love them Sept. 8 2006
By M.M.F. - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book. It's a nice mix of the ones we remember as children and a few more we wouldn't readily remember.

This is for the child who has a healthy appreciation for the art of Edward Gorey and the humor for Monty Python and love Lon Chaney. Trust me, there are these children out there, they really are under the age of 8 and they are very hard to buy books for.

What's really wonderful, for the adults who are finding their lives now revolve around reading stories to small children who remain illiterate, this book offers a lovely change from the norm. Honest to god, If I have to read one more Pretty pony story I am going to hunt that pony down....

I recommend it for children of all ages, even if you dont' have your own, it's just so worth having.

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