Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review of the NEW Hickory Dickory Dock

Review By David Broughton

Title:                       Hickory Dickory Dock
Author:                   Dr. Mike Lockett
Illustrator:               Lulu Yang
ISBN:                      978-986-6483-42-4
Retail                      $19.95
Publisher                B. I. G. \ Heritage Schoolhouse
Amazon Rating      Three to five stars (see *)

At first blush, the idea of a rewrite of the old Mother Goose rhyme didn't sit well with me. Why mess with a classic? However, when I received the book written by Dr. Mike Lockett, it was better than I thought possible. The rhyme is good, the story is told from a different point of view reasonably well. It's not the best children's book I've seen, but it's certainly not the worst, not by a long shot. Acceptable and adequate were first to mind for the poem portion. Having to base the work on the Mother Goose rhyme, without doing the original an injustice must have been extremely difficult to do. The new Hickory Dickory Dock pays respect to the original acceptably well, and will introduce a new generation to the world of Mother Goose rhymes.

The artwork by Lulu Yang is quite interesting; real materials were scanned and used to make mosaic-like pictures. If that were the end of it, I would rate this book about three and a half stars: it's well made, as well written as possible, and the artwork is fresh and different. *There are a couple of extra things that push this particular book to the five-star level. It's also written in Chinese, by turning the book over and upside down, it becomes a Chinese language book. Okay, if you don't happen to read Chinese, that's not a big deal, but I did find it interesting. The topper, as far as I'm concerned, is the CD that comes with the book. The author tells the story in a most unique and interesting way. His vocal telling of the story makes it easy for children to learn to read the words on the page. A second CD was provided by the author that fully demonstrated a unique talent for emulating accents, voices, dialects and other attributes of speakers from all parts of the world. Truth be told, Dr. Lockett is a storyteller of the best sort. That's what he does; he visits schools, fairs, expos and the like to tell his various stories with the various voices he can do. A professional educator for many years, Dr. Lockett demonstrates a unique ability to relate to children. Hickory Dickory Dock was written to provide teachers of early childhood students with a fanciful look at the mouse that has been running up and down that clock ever since someone elected to call herself Mother Goose and put the original poem to pen. The story does justice to the original Mother Goose and adds a cute story line to go with the original poem.

To put it more succinctly, though well constructed and beautifully illustrated in an unusual style that can be called a photo collage, the story itself is simple and not spectacular.  What moves it into the realm where it deserves to be talked about is the fact that it is two books in one - a story told in English AND in Chinese.  More importantly, the book comes with an audio CD by Dr. Mike Lockett, a storyteller of quite some note.  His recorded voice makes the audio read-aloud feature of the book come alive.

The author, Dr. Mike Lockett, told me "One thing that makes the book a hit for families is that the story is easy and fun for parents to read to their children.  The children love the rhymes and rhythm.  Parents can do just as good of a job sharing the story as any teacher in the country.  That is so important."  Lockett reminds parents, "You are the child's first and most important teacher." When parents read Hickory Dickory Dock or listen to the story with their children and Dr. Lockett's CD, a good time is had by all.

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*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.