Book Recommendation – Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

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griTitle: Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

Written by: Henry L. Herz, Josh Herz and Harrison Herz

Illustrated by: Abigail Larson

Published by:  Pelican Publishing Company, February 7th, 2015

Themes/Topics: nursery rhymes, spoofs, gruesome twists

Suitable for ages: 4-10

32 pages, story book


Hefty Jack Horner                                                                                                                          Sat in a corner,                                                                                                                      Eating his elvish pie;                                                                                                                He put in a claw                                                                                                                     And pulled out a jaw


Herz and sons in classically childlike fashion turn the great nursery rhymes of northern European tradition into temptingly twisted tales. Here they feature not just goblins and werewolves as one might anticipate,  but roast-beef eating Hydras and gargantuan not-to-be-messed with Ettins! And Little Witch Muffet adds that silly spider to her stew, so there! Zombies, goblins, elves, centaurs – there is a creative list of fantastical beasties that humorously wander through these rhymes.

Why I like This Book:

If you like me, enjoyed the originals of Grimm’s fairy tales (not the Disney version) and grew up on Orcs and wizards, you will love the morbidity and grotesque in these tales. Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a sinister and Dahlishly warped approach to childhood classics, but the consistent rhyme and rhythm of the poems keep them silly and lighthearted enough for younger or more sensitive readers.

The art is heavily, rich and angular and reminds me of  a cross between The Princess Bride and the illustrations in monks’ manuscripts. It offers a perfect background for these macabre monstrously funny stories.

My own favorite of the twelve nursery rhymes is This Little Hydra who is a prissy, sissy little beast!

P.S. These are far more child friendly than anything the Brothers Grimm wrote!


  •  The authors includes a “bestiary” with information about the book’s legendary creatures, which hail from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Persia, Haiti, and Scandinavia. (I confess I had to look up manticore!)
  • This lends itself to a class activity of students rewriting their own favorite nursery rhymes with illustrations!
  • Great class read-alouds and may encourage reluctant older readers to have a go buoyed by the familiarity and the rhyme. I think i would encourage all students to memorize one!
  • Definitely add these to your Halloween favorites.

Note: this book was provided by the publisher for an unbiased review.

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4 Responses to Book Recommendation – Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

  1. I grew up on the Grimm’s fairy tales. Love your term “twisted.” From what I’ve read they do sound twisted, although a little more kid-friendly. I really love the cover and some of the stories you shared. There weren’t a lot of picture books when I grew up in the early 50s. These were the tales my mother read at night, along with Uncle Wiggly, Beatrix Potter and poetry. Love this retelling!

  2. Erik - TKRB says:

    This sounds ultimately AWESOME! 😀

  3. Hang on! Was this supposed to be on PPBF? I can’t keep up! Anyway, it looks great. I love that it contains monsters from such diverse backgrounds 🙂

  4. rhythm says:

    What a great idea! Monster nursery rhymes!! I love it!

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