Page 45 Review by Stephen
Nursery Rhymes: so much playful nonsense to make the young 'uns laugh! But collect so many into close proximity and one's reminded just how naughty or macabre they can be. There's snake-mistake kissing queasiness, birds baked alive, mice diced thrice, wholesale whipping for want of anything better to do, and one poor maid loses her nose in a scene straight from a Daphne Du Maurier novel! As it happens Lucy Knisley finds a more 'entertaining' angle on illustrating There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe which avoids the need to alert social services.
Craig Thompson ups the anthropomorphism inherent in The Owl And The Pussycat so that you've never seen a sleeker, chic-er kitty cat, and as you'd expect from the creator of HABIBI and BLANKETS, it's an absolute beauty. Patrick McDonnell's one-page The Donkey is an effortless delight which ensures that one none-too-early bird still catches its worm, Vanessa Davis presents us with a riot of colour as Cinderella rocks her fella, while Eleanor Davis embellishes The Queen Of Hearts so excitedly it becomes a veritable epic of tart-toting crime and punishment.
In fact if there's one thing this beautiful album makes abundantly clear it's that our most dearly beloved comicbook creators are the least lazy artists on this planet. James Sturm doesn't simply illustrate Jack Be Nimble, he provides a laugh-out-loud re-butt-al, while the toe-tickling excuse called This Little Piggy is expanded by Cyril Pedrosa into a tasty two-page treat which shows you exactly what those five little porkers got up to after opting to shop or not in the company of wolves: clever, contemporary, with a cracking punchline.
Each artist has been married perfectly to the right rhyme - Sala to Three Blind Mice, Mignola to Solomon Grundy - and there should be one emphatic tip of the hat to Theo Ellsworth's take on the bucolic bigamist quitting the confines of St. Ives to travel with kits, cats, sacks and wives (many) which comes off all mediaeval wool trade. Gorgeously coloured.
Nursery Rhymes, with their outlandish imagery and 'this, that, then the other happened' lend themselves perfectly to the medium of comics, and this top-tier bunch have truly gone to town. Full creator listing on the shopping page.