Skip to content


2011 March 19
by ratchatreviews


Hi Kid Lit Book Lovers! Welcome back to another CHAT!

Up for CHAT is a special ‘wicked’ little treat of a picture book:  SPINSTER GOOSE by author Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

The premise to these twisted rhymed classics is, that there are some children too naughty for Old Mother Goose to handle.  Luckily, her sister, the stern,  no-nonsense Spinster Goose, knows exactly what to do with these incorrigible pinchers, pokers, biters, fibbers, snitches, cheats and other troublemakers who land in her school.


Ms. Wheeler knows how to turn a clever phrase with a sly wink in her parodies of everything from Jack Spratt, Bobby Shaftoe, and the Contrary Mary, to Georgie Porgie and Wee Willie Winkie.  The talented Ms. Blackall’s subtle and wry illustrations are a perfect compliment to the devilish rhymes. As Kirkus notes in a STARRED review, “Badness was never so enjoyable than Wheeler’s wicked rewrites…” and “Blackall’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color even as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness …”

So, sit back, (but, mind your manners — no shoes on the sofa please), and enjoy our CHAT on SPINSTER GOOSE, “Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children”.  You know the drill … Morris and I will see you on ‘the other side’ of the vid.

To win of a free copy of this fabulous book, just leave a comment! My pal, that naughty urchin Morris, will select a winner later this month. A note to educators: the author has a wonderful activity guide for SPINSTER GOOSE, available to download right on her website. Check it out!  Good stuff!

Michigan gal, Lisa Wheeler, is the prolific author of over two dozen award-winning children’s books, including  Old Cricket, and Sailor Moo, Cow at Sea illustrated by Ponder Goembel; and Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta, and Boogie Nights, illustrated by Mark Siegel. An avid reader since she was a child growing up in Pittsburgh, (Ms. Wheeler says she “read the cover off” her favorite: Best Loved Stories and Poems for Little Children), and “loved books — even the smell!” (Morris and I wonder if she thought about a ‘scratch and sniff’ in SPINSTER GOOSE for the “atrocious and ferocious” odor of her own ‘Dirty Polly Flinders’?)

Australian native, Sophie Blackall confesses that before she was an illustrator … she was a … “child“. Morris and I love that kind of playful humor which she displays so skillfully throughout her illustrations, not only in this book, but so many of her others including: Meet The Wild Boars (for which she received the Founder’s Award given by The Society of Illustrators), and Jumpy Jack and Googily, both written by Meg Rosoff. Ms. Blackall is also the illustrator of the popular Ivy and Bean series, by Annie Barrows, and the author/lllustrator of a new picture book coming out later this year, Are You Awake? From her home in Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Blackall reveals she has “impeccably behaved children … but a poorly behaved … cat.” (Of course, the latter does not surprise Morris or me one bit.)


Well, that’s it from Morris and me for now.  Thanks for joining us!

See you on our next CHAT! (And don’t be an uncouth urchin!)

20 Responses leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011

    We watch your show every week! Now that I saw this, I want to get “Spinster Goose” really bad. Thanks Rat Chat!
    - Lily

  2. March 20, 2011

    Love the Sister Act! Thank you for the tip on the activity guide provided by the author. We are currently updating our “activities” page on our website and will add this to our list.

    Please enter us into your contest. We will continue to spread the word that “If you want to know where it’s at……you’ve got to visit RAT CHAT!!!”

    ~ Lauri Chandler

  3. March 21, 2011

    Thanks for another entertaining and highly educational review , Morris and Stanley! “Spinster Goose” sounds like a winner, and delightfully sinister!

  4. March 22, 2011

    I’m putting Spinster Goose on my must reads. Love the illustrations and the devilish rhymes!

  5. March 22, 2011

    Lisa Wheeler’s delicious, mischievous poems sound great coming from Stanley and Morris. Nice Angela Lansbury impression too. I also love the sophisticated and sly illustrations.

  6. March 23, 2011

    I’m already a fan of Sophie Blackall’s work, so I’m glad to be introduced to Lisa Wheeler’s writing, it looks like a perfect pairing. Brava, ladies!

    As for the rats….I think they’re ready for prime time….they get better all the time!

  7. Joseph Miller permalink
    March 25, 2011

    First time reader/viewer… very funny.

    Awesome idea for a book!

    Best Wishes,

  8. Virginia Rinkel permalink
    March 25, 2011

    First thing I asked myself was – WHERE’S MY POPCORN???
    Tonight, after chores, I’ll be ready and review this over and over, till the corn is gone, then go get this book and read it to the five grandchildren girls next chance I get! Thanks for a wonderful site.

  9. Rachel Anderson permalink
    March 25, 2011

    Another darn good book by Lisa Wheeler. She is a picture book wonder writer, and one of my favorites. If you get a chance, take her workshop. Awesome! Just a quick shout out to her in case she’s lurking about reading these comments. “Hi Lisa. Thanks for all your picture books.”

    Virginia, save some popcorn for me.

  10. March 25, 2011

    Great review! Enter me in the contest, please.

  11. March 25, 2011

    Loved the Spinster Goose review, especially since I’m a fan of the darker, edgier PBs. Rat Chat is hilarious. Was it wrong that I sang along in my head to “Sisters”?

    Thanks for the entertaining reviews!

    • March 26, 2011

      Wrong to sing along w/”Sister”? Come on …
      if you like ‘dark’ and ‘edgy’ … don’t miss our chat w/Fred and Anthony. (We think you will get a giggle.)

  12. Suzanne Klein permalink
    March 26, 2011

    Love this review–thanks to Lisa for letting us know about it on MichKids and thanks to Stanley and Morris for the entertainment. I will definitely be back to check out your other reviews, and I need to get this book.

    • March 26, 2011

      Thanks, Suzanne! Please do check out our other ‘chats’.
      And remember — you are in the ‘hopper’ to win a copy of this exceptional picture book!

  13. Sandy B. permalink
    March 30, 2011

    Stanley and Morris, if you weren’t so well-suited (or well-hatted?) as reviewers I’d say you were hiding your light under a bushel! The performances, editing, and erudite vocabulary were in top form on this one. I’m doing my best to help others (of all ages) find you both.
    Oh, back to the book… (did my effusive praise score any points for the book drawing?) Wheeler and Blackall are so well-paired in “Spinster” that I hope it is a long-term relationship.

  14. April 16, 2011

    Hope I’m not too late to the party to be in the contest. If I am, not problem. Still had lots of fun hanging around. Love being on Stanley and Morris’ Guest List!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS