Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls

Reading to Know - April 2010

Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls is another Arbordale Publishing book(and we know how much my family loves Arbordale!) This book is filled with nursery rhymes which have been adapted to include ocean animals and ocean life.(Do I even need to bother anymore explaining why it is we like this book?)

Arbordale posts before, pay attention to this:
This particular publisher is kind of striking out on their own and opening up more of their books online. They are becoming much more technologically advanced in that they are providing their books as well as a myriad of resources to go along with their books, to people on the great www. (Yet they still put up with me insisting that I will only look at a book when it's in my hand. I'm determined to remain old school about this!) That said, I really think that they have done a fantastic job offering resources online for teachers and home school parents.

As a home schooler, I particularly love that they are purposefully reaching out to home school families. Check out Arbordale's website, if you haven't done so already, and you'll find all kinds of audio books, interactive quizzes, teaching activities and coloring pages to download based on their books and the animals which are featured within.

We love Arbordale and we enjoyed this particular book. Out of curiosity, I went and looked up what activities they had on their website to accompany Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls. I found the following items: A story time maze, "For Creative Minds" educational section, teaching activities, reading comprehension quiz, math quiz, and a list of related websites with further information about the animals and subject matter of this book.

You can find similar information about each of Arbordale's titles. Really, I can't recommend this company more highly as they are working to make their books extremely accessible and beneficial to the masses. We look forward to exploring more Arbordale Publishing titles and the animal world which they open up to us! Thanks for your great efforts to delight children and help a parent out, Arbordale!

School Library Journal - September 2009

Perfect reading before a trip to the shore, these beach versions of Mother Goose rhymes combine familiar rhythm and meter with new content. The colorful illustrations amplify the selections they accompany and invite children to stop and linger over each picture. “Lydia Gail has lost her whale./He’s somewhere around Nantucket./Leave him alone, and he’ll make himself known./He’s hiding in her bucket.” In the accompanying illustration, the child’s toy can be spied atop her yellow pail. Animals are the stars of the art, with only a few children and adults featured in “An Old Woman Who Lived in a Shell,” “Lobster Pies,” “Two Skippers from Texas,” “Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee,” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” These lighthearted verses read like plays on words for adults familiar with the originals and will be fun for children. Such titles as “Mary Had a Little Clam,” “Jack & June (went up a dune),” and “Hatteras Light Is Falling Down” are rooted in the Eastern seashore, while “I Saw a Ship A-Sailing” sets a prairie schooner on the Oregon Trail and “The Witch of November, 1913” commemorates the storm that battered the Great Lakes and sank 12 ships, killing more than 270 people. These clever reworkings end with factoids about each poem; a two-page map pinpointing the location of each rhyme, and a one-page list of map activity and poem-related questions (with answers). Discussion questions wrap up these activities.
- Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Katie's Literature Lounge - Nov 10, 2009

This one strikes me as different from Arbordale's typical books, however, that's different in a good way! I could totally make the connection between the nursery rhymes here and ones that children will likely be familiar with! I would definitely use this book in a classroom and at home with my some-day children! I think it would be great fun to compare these nursery rhymes to the ones they most-closely resemble - challenge kids to see if they can determine which traditional nursery rhymes these are takes on. Can you figure them out? Test your own knowledge of traditional nursery rhymes vs. original nursery rhymes.

Senor Parrot's Perch - September 23, 2009

Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys and Gulls, written by Lucy Nolan and illustrated by Connie McLennan, is a collection of  fun and entertaining parodies of many favorite Mother Goose nursery rhymes. But the rhymes inside Mother Osprey are parodies with purpose. Math and counting skills, science and history are all lessons taught in these poems.  Don’t think “Boring” when you see that this book teaches hard subjects like math or science. The rhymes and illustrations are pure enjoyment in themselves.

Most of Lucy Nolan’s rhymes are pure silly fun that kids will enjoy listening to over and over and even memorizing; the rest vividly illustrate a point in time from history. An appendix in the back adds more facts and explanations that the parent or teacher can use to draw young listeners further into a teaching moment. A map shows where each of the habitats is located.

Twinkle,  Twinkle starfish dear, places the starfish in its natural habitat and opens up rich opportunities for discussing the shallows and beaches along a rocky coast. What other animals live nearby? What do they eat? What eats them?

Nursery rhymes satisfy at many levels: they’re great fun to listen to, with their rhymes and the rhythm of their meter. They’re pleasing for the strength of their imagery. They easily capture a child’s imagination, slipping into their memories and never losing their ability to bring enjoyment. Children seem to never tire of repeating them over and over and the verses are a natural invitation to singing. Nursery rhymes teach children language skills and the repetition packs information into their young, developing brains and they help develop their ears for word use and phrasing.

Mother Osprey is a perfect gift for your child or your child’s classroom teacher, whether in preschool, kindergarten, or the early grades. The rhymes are a perfect starter to get children to focus on some part of the environment, or a place. They introduce elements of nature in an interesting way, which leads naturally to a discussion of what is in the rhyme.

Ready Set Read Reviews - September 19, 2009

Today's is Talk Like a Pirate Day so I can think of no better time to share with you a review of Arbordale's Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls; a book celebrating the world of nursery rhymes "from sea to shining sea". Everyone enjoys nursery rhymes, and most of the ones in this book will be probably seem oddly reminiscent of the ones you yourself were read as a child. But don't worry that this is going to be just another reprint of a collection you already have on your child's shelf. No, quite the contrary, because what you'll find here, in each rhyme, is a clever new rendition of Mother Goose's own original verses. Set to a tune that celebrates all things piratey and of watery goodness, Mother Osprey is a nonpareil.

Move over Mother Goose; Lucy Nolan is in the house! The whimsical quality of Nolan's new retelling of yesterday's nursery rhymes is irrefutable. The way Nolan took every rhyme, no matter the original topic, and rewrote it to tell a completely different story, while maintaining the initial cadence, is both creative and ingenious. And technically speaking, she did it flawlessly. As did Connie McLennan, who skillfully produced the classic style illustrations which also add to the fun, lighthearted tone of this book.

Plus, did you know that even while your child is reading nursery rhymes he can be learning too? It's true. Because no Arbordale book can be complete without some form of educational gold dust sprinkled throughout. They are nursery rhymes, so naturally there are some that are comprised of nothing but sheer silliness. There are others, however, that actually take the time to educate while entertaining. Take for instance the rhyme titled "One Flamingo". In this amusing little piece readers get schooled on the names and classes of several waterfront creatures. (Example: Jellyfish in a group are called a smack and geese in a group are called a gaggle.)

There's more, of course, in the 'Creative Minds' section at the tail end of the book. The first two page spread focuses in on one or two particular aspects of each poem, and then offers more fun details about each. (Example: The fun fact for "Buoys & Gulls" explains what a buoy and gull really are.) Then there's a two page map that later ties in to a fun activity sheet where the reader is asked to located different things on the map. There are also a few poem-related questions that will test the readers knowledge and understanding of a handful of the poems. And last but not least, there's a small segment that simply allows readers to discuss the importance of water, the key component found in each nursery rhyme found in Mother Osprey.

So even if you're dubious as to how a rhyme originally penned about a lamb can be recreated to feature a clam or how one originally about a shoe now includes a shell, you should be sure to give this new collection a chance. It's remarkably funny, and I can almost bet you'll find yourself secretly trying to relearn your classic favorites with today's new spin.

National Writing for Children Center - September 1, 2009

“With clever twists on old standards, Mother Osprey is a salute to sea breezes, sand, and just plain silliness.” Arbordale’s description of one of their newest Fall 2009 titles, Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys and Gulls, sums up the content of Lucy Nolan’s delightful picture book in a “clamshell!” In fact, this collection of new poems and rhymes, based on the tried and true Mother Goose favorites, has already become a ‘popular pick’ at my house!

For example, ‘Jack and June went up a dune’ is quite a change from Jack and Jill going up a hill. Or how about, Mary had a little clam instead of a lamb? And no—London Bridge is not falling down! There’s been a mistake. It’s Hatteras Light. However, my absolute favorite selection is ‘One Flamingo’ based on the old ‘One Potato, Two Potato’ rhyme. In this one, we learn that a group of flamingoes is called a flamboyance, a band of jellyfish is a smack, a floating group of puffins is called a raft, and so on. What neat tidbits of information to present in a comfortable and familiar format.

Many of the rhymes and poems could be a jumping-off point for all kinds of educational activities and projects. Students could compare the new with the old or even try their own hands at re-writing nursery rhymes based on a certain theme. The selections could also be used as a catalyst to dig deeper into scientific study about oceans and coastal life or even a historical study of the topics in each rhyme. And of course, the book could simply be read for fun and enjoyment. My five year old anticipated the rhyming words and tried to guess and shout out the ending of each phrase before I could finish.

In addition to Lucy Nolan’s splendid text, Connie McLennan did an exceptional job with the illustrations. She captured the ‘flavor’ of each rhyme perfectly, and her whimsical, colorful drawings will delight young children as each page is turned.

The ‘For Creative Minds’ section at the back of the book is a treasure-trove of extra information and activities. Included are explanations/background for each selection, a map with a key showing the location of various topics mentioned, map activity questions, poem related questions, and a section called ‘Food For Thought.’ As always, parents and teachers can access more activities, and free online resources and support for this book and other titles at

Laura Williams' Musings - August 13, 2009

If you loved the Mother Goose nursery rhymes as a child, you will love this fun new take on them with an Osprey as the Mother Goose.  The rhymes are retold with a fun new sea and ocean theme to them. Remember the sweet little rhyme of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”?   Well now it’s “Mary Had a Little Clam'” and the clam’s life lends a certain giggle to it as the rhymes tells the clam arrived to school in September and school was out for summer break , so the clam was steamed. I have a feeling you can guess the original rhymes that these are a retelling of.  You find other classic rhymes retold as:

This is one of the books that my children have asked to have read to them over and over. The child readers in the family are happy to oblige their little brothers and sisters too.  I catch them giggling on many of the rhymes.This is a definite keeper! - June 2009

As the title of this book implies, with ingenuity and an obvious love of the sea, Ms. Nolan took some wonderful old standard nursery rhymes and wove them into sea and coastline themed poems. Within these rhymes, Ms. Nolan introduces bits of nautical history and information. Instead of Jack and Jill, it’s Jack and June who go up a dune. Sing a Song of Sixpense includes a trawler crew, first mate, captain, and deckhand.

Ms. Nolan takes these old standards and makes them her own. Some of the rhymes go over very well, such as Sleep Baby Sleep, and Buoys and Gulls; others may leave a young child a little puzzled, such as Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee, and Two Skippers from Texas.

I love the concept of Mother Osprey, introducing sea lingo, history and information in a wonderfully illustrated rhyming book - much of it works. I do think that a couple of the rhymes include words and themes that are geared for an older reader. One rhyme in particular is One Flamingo. It is an amazingly intricate and informative rhyme, but verses such as: “First a goose, and then some geese—a gaggle in the lane. But if the geese are flying, the gaggle is a skein,” I believe would lose many young readers of 3-7. Another is The Witch of November, 1913 with verses such as: “The lakes heaved and tossed—so many lives lost. Howling wind, high seas and snow. More than two hundred souls filled those sorrowful rolls—the crewmen of long ago.” Again, this may be a wonderful piece, but not for the intended age group.

With colorful and realistic illustrations, Mother Osprey is, overall, an entertaining, fun and educational book that celebrates the sea and coastline. Phrases and words such as okra pods, Puget Sound, shark, pirate, and shoal of bass will peak children’s interest. Although, I do feel the book would be better intended for ages seven through ten.

Mother Osprey also includes a “For Creative Minds” section that sheds insight and gives information on each rhyme. Also included is a two-page map of the United States and its surrounding waters highlighting the geographical areas the rhymes reference, along with a “Map Activity Questions” section.
- Karen Coiffi-Ventrice

Tif Talks Books - August 30, 2009

Do you remember Mother Goose? Of course you do!! Who doesn't, right?!?! Well, author Nolan decided to give Mother Goose a little twist and the result is Mother Osprey! Instead of a lamb, Mary has a clam! The old woman lives in a shell instead of a shoe! And, imagine sticking your little finger in a pie to find a pinching surprise!! Nolan does an amazing job of keeping the same rhythm to each of the diddies, but she puts a unique spin on each one! I was not only impressed, but as I read through it with my daughter, I found myself giggling at the author's wit!

Mother Osprey is published by Arbordale; therefore, for those who don't already know, these can also be very educational books as well! Additional resources associated with the rhymes can be found in the final pages of the book as well as online by clicking here. In fact, if you would like to peruse the book, the publisher is offering a limited time e-book version here. I'm personally thankful for the physical copy that I will be able to carry with me as we visit the locations described (and there is even a map in the back to help you find your way)!

In the Pages - July 22, 2009

Such a fun find. Nursery rhymes - all with a nautical theme - I love it!! It is fun and yet teaches all sorts of great things about oceans and ocean life.

Reading Rumpus - July 22, 2009

I had a chance to read Arbordale Publishing‘s Little Skink's Tail from author Janet Halfmann back in February and thought it was great. So when Arbordale offered another title in their series, I was happy to look.

Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls takes traditional Mother Goose rhymes and slants them toward the nautical. Living in Florida I found the Key West & Biscayne Bay rhymes especially enticing, but there’s also Hatteras Light, Nantucket, Lake Huron, The Mississippi, Puget Sound and even the rolling grass of the Oregon Trail. There’s a great map and several comprehension questions added at the end.

Pop over to the Arbordale Publishing site and you'll find an amazing array of titles. Arbordale specializes in picture books with a science/nature theme that are generally fictional; yet hold a wealth of information and opportunities for discussion. The fictional story format makes for a highly engaging science read. The end of each story holds supplemental fact and activity sections, and there are a ton of free activities and learning resources online. Better still, the books have all been aligned to Science and Math Standards and vetted by experts in each field, including some from NASA, NOAA, SeaWorld and the Houston Zoo.

If my two Arbordale books were any indication, parents and teachers would be well served to pop over to the site and investigate. Recommended for Pre-K – 3rd grade classrooms and libraries. With the strong online support, I think parents and homeschoolers would also love these.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - July 2009

Mary had a little clam... hey, wait a minute. Isn’t that supposed to read “lamb?” No, this is a book for boys and girls, possessed with a silly sense of humor, who prefer clams to lambs in their nursery rhymes (probably in their chowder too!). Up and down the east coast, over to the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, into the Gulf of Mexico and with a hop, skip and a jump we’re off to Oregon and on our silly sing song tour around the states. Let’s take a little spin up to the northeast and check out “Lobster Pies.”

“Old Mrs. Wise
made lobster pies,
all on a winter’s day;
her greedy son
grabbed every one
and took them clean away.”

“What a surprise
for Junior Wise
lay inside that croaker sack.
When he sat on a bench
to eat a pinch,
the lobster pies pinched back!”

This is a very quaint and refreshing take on nursery rhymes that will be sure to enchant and transport the reader into the magical world of buoys and gulls. I smiled at some, giggled at others and enjoyed an interesting lesson on the names of animal family groups in One Flamingo. Some of the rhymes are fairly lengthy, while others are just four lines, but all are delightful and novel. The art work is vibrant, colorful and meshes very well with the nursery rhyme theme. In the back of the book are two pages containing factual materials about the rhymes, a map indicating their locations and a page of interesting questions for additional homeschool, individual or classroom activities. There are additional activities relative to this book on the Arbordale website. Why do you think it took so long for Mary’s clam to get to school? You’ll have to read the rhyme and conduct a little research to answer that one!

Quill says: Mother Goose should make a spot for this winsome book right next to herself on the shells, er, shelves.

Wild About Nature - August 9, 2009

In this oceanic twist on traditional Mother Goose rhymes, Lucy Nolan takes readers on a trip to the seashore. We see flamingoes, sea lions, lobsters, whales and lighthouses among the many wet, sandy scenes. Many of Nolan’s rhymes are clever and fun, but my personal favorite is her lovely take on Sleep Baby Sleep:

The For Creative Minds section at the back of the book includes factual information about each of the rhymes and a map of the U.S. where readers can pinpoint where they would find the creatures and sites featured in the poems along with related questions. This book is a wonderful introduction to the beauty and majesty of the sea.

Stories for Children Magazine - July 2009

Can you imagine what it would be like if our favorite nursery rhymes had been told by Mother Osprey rather than Mother Goose? Of course, they would all relate to the water or the shore in some way. Mary might have a little clam instead of a little lamb. Jack and June would go up a dune. In "Sing a Song of Sixpence," there are four and twenty pelicans. "One flamingo, two flamingo, three flamingo, four. A flamboyance of flamingoes is a group of three or more." Rather than London Bridge, "Hatteras Light is Falling Down." And the old woman of this book lives in a shell, not a shoe.

Children will enjoy comparing the old familiar nursery rhymes which they have heard to author Lucy Nolan's versions as told by Mother Osprey. They will also be exposed to a lot of fascinating information about the ocean, its animals, and related concepts as illustrated by Connie McLennan. The "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book provides further material about the stories behind the book's eighteen rhymes, a map of the United States showing the locations of various things mentioned in the poems, and some map activity and poem related questions. Teachers and parents will also like the "Teaching Activities," "Interactive Quizzes," and "Related Websites" which can be found at Arbordale's website. "Twinkle, twinkle, starfish dear."

Reader Views - August 2009

In “Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls,” Lucy Nolan takes popular nursery rhymes and incorporates the ocean, seashore, and nautical themes into them. For instance, instead of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Nolan's version is “Mary Had a Little Clam.”

Cayden, Age 5: “This book was kind of funny because I knew the nursery rhymes the way they were supposed to be but these were a little different. My favorite was "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" because it said Key West in it and that is where grandma and grandpa go all of the time. I liked the one with the old woman living in a shell too, instead of the shoe.”

Parent's comments: “Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls” by Lucy Nolan is definitely unlike any nursery rhyme book that you have ever read. There are a lot of creative plays on the classics. While most of the rhymes my child was able to understand, there were one or two that were too difficult for him to grasp the concept of. We loved the “Creative Minds” section at the end of the book which presents more educational activities relating to the subject matter.

A Year of Reading - July 27, 2009

Kids will love this! Jack and June go up a dune, the old woman lives in a shell, and Hattaras light is falling down, falling down, falling down. I'm sure this will be a favorite for choosing poems to perform for Poetry Friday in my 4th grade classroom!

Publishers Weekly - July 2009

Mother Goose rhymes are recast with a distinctly maritime theme, taking readers up and down America’s waterways, from coast to coast. “One Potato, Two Potato,” here “One Flamingo,” becomes a musing on collective nouns for coastal species: “Seagulls form a colony, and curlews form a herd./ But cormorants are called a gulp—they’re such a silly bird.” And rather than sugar and spice, little gulls are made of “Mischief and daring and one pickled herring,/ that’s what little gulls are made of.” ... But this might be a nice one to tuck into the beach bag, with an eye toward turning time under the beach umbrella into teachable moments.