In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.
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|Age Range:||12 - 14 Years|
About the Author
Georgia McBride is a speculative fiction writer and founder of YALITCHAT.org. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Michelle Zink is the author of Prophecy of the Sisters and A Temptation of Angels. She lives in New York City. Francisco X. Stork is the author of Irises, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, and Marcelo in the Real World. He lives in Boston.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved the mythology in Jessie Harrell's I Come Baring Souls that's one I would love to have seen as a full story. Gretchen McNeil's Tick Tock was awesome, I don't think a story has ever creeped me out like that. And Leigh Fallon's Wee Willie Winkie was good but could have used a little more maybe. The Wish by Suzanne Young: predictable but I liked it. The reason I think a few didn't appeal to me much is because Mother Goose rhymes already have a dark story behind them. Most of them do anyway; and spinning a whole new story from something that I already know it's dark origins felt odd. With some the backstory of the rhyme was even darker than the one being told. Oh a scary paranormal being threating to kill (or actually doing so), yeah your rhyme is about dead people! Which I guess would fit with the paranormal being killing. Hmm.. there's a thought. But either way with any anthology some stories were better than others. But they were all good , they're pretty imaginative and a there are a handful that would have been great as full novels. Plus I found new authors that I would love to check out.
Loved these re-tellings. They are beautifully written!
Fantasy, magic and horror all rolled into a goody-book! This book contains short stories based on Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes – the very same ones I’ve grown up reciting in school, so it was such a pleasant surprise for me to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for a review. When I started reading, I was reminded of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps because most of the stories in this book are for young adults. And I enjoyed reading everything! The stories are varied and the settings are all different from one another. You get different horror stories from only one book! The stories range from featuring good old vampires, female warriors, people that can transform into animals (a mouse, a spider and a crow), witches in the woods and even creepy clocks. I especially liked the story of Little Miss Muffet because you just don’t see the story coming from the rhyme, but then everything falls into place. I also liked the story of Winky, Blinky and Nod, as well as the story about the Black Crow. There’s also that two-part story of Nancy Holder about the Lion and the Unicorn, and the story from Hickory, Dickory Dock. Aside from being fascinating, the stories also tell about hope, dreams and courage, but of course, there are those that are just plain creepy and scary. Who knew that Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes can inspire horror stories?! And really good ones at that! It’s perfect for fans of young adult horror stories!
**NOTE: There are three stories that are not reviewed because they were not in my ARC copy but are in the published version. I received the anthology ARC for free from the publisher via NetGalley.** "As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old" by Nina Berry: 2/5. This was creepy but not in the horror story kind of way. There’s this man who’s stalking this teenage girl and then gets this other man to follow her…it just rubbed me the wrong way. And then the girl who is supposed to be tough just walks off with the guy and lets him take her away in his car...Again, it just rubbed me the wrong way. The saving grace for this story is that it had a message of hope. The cycle was broken in the end. "Sing a Song of Six-Pence" by Sarwat Chadda: 4/5. I really liked this if only for the fact that it shows how far a mother will go to be reunited with her son. I felt for her and I was glad that Blackbird did help her. And even though it ends in a melancholy way, Chadda really makes you think. "Clockwork" by Leah Cypress: 3/5. Eh…there’s nothing really wrong with this; it just didn’t grab me. Cypress is really good at describing how panicked a mouse would feel being hunted, which lent credence to the story. However, while I felt sorry for the main character it wasn’t enough to really be invested in her plight. "Blue" by Sayantani DasGupta: 4/5. What would you do if you were tasked with writing down everyone else’s stories but could never tell you own? I liked it because it played on the idea of being the wallflower. Blue is the wallflower of life and without Boy, she would never have been seen or been able to grow, even though it was only a little. "Pieces of Eight" by Shannon Delaney with Max Scialdone: 2/5. I liked the adventure part of it but then again, I always like an adventure story. And I liked how it wasn’t an easy fix at the end. Marnum had to figure out how to shake the Dreamland Tree even as they were battling it. However, I found Marnum annoying throughout the story which lowered my liking of the short altogether. “Wee Willie Winkie” by Leigh Fallon: 5/5. Ok, so I’m probably biased about this story. My parents used to tell my sister and I this rhyme every night to get us in bed. They also used the exact same method to scare us that Fallon used in the short. While reading, I was just imaging all the times I would race upstairs so I would be in bed by 8 o’clock so Wee Willie Winkie wouldn’t come get me. "Boys and Girls Come Out to Play" by Angie Frazier: 5/5. I was really invested in this story. One sister is on a quest to protect her twin for the witches’ game. Throughout the story I kept wondering what would happen and would Bronwyn be able to pull off her scheme. But like true dark stories the end is never as simple as it seems. "I Come Baring Souls" by Jessie Harrell: 2/5. The story is simple, three people are the reincarnations of Egyptian gods and they lead the souls to the afterlife. The problem is, it’s that simple. There’s really nothing to say about the story and I found that I couldn’t care less what happened to the main character. She seemed whiny to me. "The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the First" by Nancy Holder: 4/5. The story was well written and I found myself emphasizing with the main character. I wanted the king to come to justice for the atrocities that were being inflicted on the prisoners and I really wanted to know how the story would end. However, the second half, “Part the Second” is only available in the published version. "Life in a Shoe" by Heidi R. Kling: 2/5. This was an interesting premise but it lacked believability. The wars I could understand but the amount of children I couldn’t. IF the women are supposed to have a lot of children and it’s required by law, then why was the mother allowed to treat them like crap and underfeed them? If there’s going to be a reason for having that many children then there would probably be something in place to make sure they were healthy so when they grew up, they’d be productive citizens of society. I kept thinking that there’s no way those kids would live to adulthood, completely defeating the purpose of having them. "Candlelight" by Suzanne Lazear: 1/5. While I liked that the two main characters realized how idiotic they were for complaining about normal teenage drama, i.e. not being allowed to go to parties and having your phone taken away, I found that I didn’t really like this story. It was predictable and even when they realized the consequences of their actions I didn’t care about them enough as characters to care about their plight. "One for Sorrow" by Karen Mahoney: 1/5. Insta-love turned me off this story. I liked the beginning of it and I was hoping it would continue being good but it took a nose dive when the main character immediately liked him. And the ending didn’t really make sense, why would the ring affect her like it did? "Those Who Whisper" by Lisa Mantchev: 5/5 I really liked this story. The writing was superb and I emphasized with the characters. I’ve never read Mantchev’s work before but I will now. "Little Miss Muffet" by Georgia McBride: 1/5. I just didn’t get it. Spiders that are actually shape shifters, the main character’s popular, but slightly homicidal, sister…it just did not make sense to me. "Sea of Dew" by C. Lee McKenzie: 4/5. This was sad. Even though I knew that the whole anthology was on dark retellings, I found myself hoping that at least one of the teenagers would make it. "Tick Tock" by Gretchen McNeil: 3/5. I don’t like creepy children. And I think that’s why I couldn’t really get into this story. To me, it didn’t make sense that these children are killers because I got the gist that they had been doing the same thing in Australia before they moved to California. Wouldn’t someone have figured out that the last place the missing persons were at was alone with these kids? “A Pocket Full of Posy” by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg: 2/5. I was intrigued by the story line at the beginning. A high school boy wakes up with blood on his hands; he has no recollection of how he got there or where his car’s at. Coupled with his girlfriend’s strange disappearance, there was a lot that going for the story. However, it didn’t connect for me. The ending was cliché and I didn’t particularly care about what happened to the main character. "The Well" by K.M. Walton: 2/5. It was interesting to see how Walton would explain the rhyme but I found that I didn’t really like Jack or Jill. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the story, I just didn’t connect with the characters which meant I didn’t really connect with the story. I felt sorry for them and their plight but otherwise I could care less what happened to them. "The Wish" by Suzanne Young: 3/5. It was cute, kind of. I liked that Lauren at least was able to get over her boyfriend before the untimely ending but it was pretty predictable. It’s typical teenage angst resulting in a wish that you can’t take back. And the insta-love killed it. I just wanted to shake Lauren and tell her she is not in love with a guy she just met. "A Ribbon of Blue" by Michelle Zink: 5/5. This story is bittersweet. I had an idea of what would happen at the end but I was actually glad for it. After everything that Ruby went through at home and school, she deserved peace and happiness.