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What If Jack Wasn't So Nimble cover
  • Keywords
    • Mother Goose,
    • Nursery rhymes,
    • Parodies,
    • Wordplay,
    • Humorous poetry,
    • Light verse,
    • Sardonic humour

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What If Jack Wasn't So Nimble
Mother Goose Characters Reimagined
by Colin McNairn

Bridging the gap between humour and poetry, this collection of 64 reimagined nursery rhymes will conjure up memories of verses learned in childhood. Each of the author’s new rhymes is built upon elements of a Mother Goose original. Familiar characters make their appearance but their relatable experience is freshly conceived, for example: • Humpty Dumpty equivocates, by sitting on a fence, and avoids falling off a wall; • Betty Blue, without a benefactor to replace her lost shoe, adapts, with the aid of a crutch, to life with only one shoe; and • The Three Little Kittens are upset, not from the loss of their mittens but because their mother’s milk has run dry and she fails to arrange for a new supply. Some modern twists are added as the reimagined nursery rhymes focus on subjects of contemporary interest and concern, such as the law, business, electronic communications, air travel and politics, none of which drew the attention of Mother Goose. This collection is a follow-up to the author’s previous collection of light verse, titled Signs of the Times through Reimagined Nursery Rhymes. Between the two books, the author has reconceived over 130 of Mother Goose’s original nursery rhymes, approaching the full complement of her contribution to children’s literature.

Colin McNairn has enjoyed a career as a professor, a practising lawyer, an adjudicator and a writer. Before turning to poetry, he published two books about language, In a Manner of Speaking, and Sports Talk: How It Has Penetrated Our Everyday Language. Colin lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Marian.


Colin McNairn
Rosie Pittas

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