KIDS: Mother Goose Book

{Spotlight Page Header} In the Spotlight

Sayles School Students Illustrate Mother Goose Book

{Book Cover}
Mother Goose and Other Rhymes Cover

Let’s play a game! It’s called “Finish the Rhyme.”  Read the following rhyme and fill in the last line.
Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed, To see such sport, ………..................

If you said “And the dish ran away with the spoon,´ then you remember the nursery rhymes that you probably recited when you were much younger than you are today.

{Historical Illustration of Mother Goose}
Early Mother Goose Illustration

Many of these rhymes were collected at various times and published under the title of “Mother Goose Rhymes.” Now the name “Mother Goose” can be traced back to books published in France in 1650. However, Mother Goose Rhymes are still being published today, and an art teacher at the Sayles School in Sprague Connecticut, has found a way to involve her students in just such a project.

{Dr. LeClair}
Dr. Irene Le Clair with Copies of Book

When Dr. Irene Le Clair received an offer from a local literary publisher, New London Librarium, to produce a book of Mother Goose rhymes illustrated by her students, she immediately saw the advantages for the school and her students. The school would not have to invest anything, and all profits would go to the art program.

{Students and Teacher in Classroom}
Dr. Le Clair and Student Illustrators

Students in grades five through eight were selected to participate because they have assigned laptops for research. They had to go online and search for Mother Goose Rhymes, and then they had to choose a couple. In the next class, they had to verify that they really had found Mother Goose Rhymes. Then they had to check whether any other kids had chosen the same rhymes. So before they started their artwork, the students had to apply what they knew about using a computer, navigating the Internet, downloading information, checking facts, and working with others.

{Page Illustration}
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Page Illustration

The project started with plain pencil  sketches of an assortment of landscapes, still lifes, patterns, and shapes as the students learned about perspective, shading, composition, color combination, and other concepts in art. A second set of sketches was given to a panel of the other teachers at the school and this panel selected the students who would provide the final illustrations. However, all of the students in Dr. LeClair’s classes benefited from the project.

{Three Blind Mice Page Illustration}
Three Blind Mice Page Illustration

Other students also provided support for the project.  One girl developed an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of names, titles, classes, grade levels, and progress. After a year, the students had produced enough quality artwork for a 53-page book. Principal Danielle Schoman provided an introduction.

{Page Illustration}
Baa, Baa Black Sheep Page Illustration

Three girls staffed a table to sell books at the school's Open House. They kept track of cash, processed credit card charges and pitched the book to parents with a sales pitch that few could resist. One student who is now in the eighth grade said, “It feels really cool to have my art published in a book. Not only do my friends and family get to see it, but other people around the world, too.” Dr. Le Clair and New London Librarium are going to do another such project, this time with students writing their own poetry.

Sayles School

New London Librarium has an online gallery of some of the pages from the book, which is titled Mother Goose and Other Rhymes. It can be seen at The book is available there and at Amazon, which is offering the title in countries around the world. Profits from the book will go to support the  Sayles School Art Program.  The price is $15. Glenn Cheney at New London Librarium may be reached at 

Content Last Modified on 10/16/2019 1:54:40 PM