a gorgeous new volume of nursery rhymes

over the hills and far away cover imageOver the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes — collected by Elizabeth Hammill, illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists
first published in Great Britain, 2014; published in the U.S. 2015 by Candlewick Press

One last Poetry Month suggestion, and it’s such a beauty. I wish I could show you every page…but it will be far better for you to trot to the library or bookstore and pick one up for yourself. In fact, you could just quit reading this review right now and do that!

And here is what you’ll get:

Obviously, as a “treasury of nursery rhymes” it’s chock full of these “tiny masterpieces” that have woven their way into our language, literature, proverbs, and culture over the centuries. There are 150 rhymes. Many are familiar Mother Goose nursery rhymes, but intriguingly, Hammill has included regional variations on some of them as well as a lovely global sampling of other rhymes — Trinidadian, Chinese, Inuit, Punjabi — that bring an extra slice of diversity to this collection.

over the hills and far away illustration ashley bryan

illustration by Ashley Bryan

Nursery rhymes are old as the hills yet ever fresh. This ample collection sparkles with rhythms and patterns and wordplay, extremely diverse subject matter, humor, tragedy, nonsense, history…spilling across the pages.

over the hills and far away illustration yasmeen ismail

illustration by yasmeen ismail

And such beautiful pages! Can I just say that a little louder?! So, so beautiful!

over the hills and far away illustration mark hearld

illustration by mark hearld

They’re illustrated in a marvelous variety of artistic styles and media by some of the brightest stars in children’s illustration, from the grand dame Shirley Hughes and iconic Eric Carle, right through to some international artists I’d never known of, plus the winners of a UK new illustrators competition. 

Over the hills trail

illustration by holly sterling — one of the winners of the new illustrators competition

That means: Every page is a different flavor treat. The book is worthwhile for the art alone. This I think you can see from just this little sampling, right? Gah! Fabulos-o!

over the hills and far away illustration Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

illustration by mick manning and brita granstrom

It would make a lovely birthday present for someone turning One, I think!