Katherine Govier was a previously featured author on Reading Recommendations in January, 2014. Since that time, she has published a new book and is here now to tell us about it. (Note that this book is only available in hardcover. However, I have received a copy and can guarantee that you will not want to read this in any other format. It is truly beautiful! Kudos from me on the production quality, Whitecap! smt)
I got an advance copy of Half for You and Half for Me and flew to Calgary in April to read it with my mother. We had fun going through the pages, she with her big round magnifying glass, still able to recite the rhymes from her memory. The idea to write it had come when she gave me the 100 year old nursery rhyme book we had pored over together, when we both were younger. She liked HALF FOR YOU and as always when I published, bought copies for all her friends. About ten days later, on Easter weekend, Mum died.
AND SO the book we shared has become a tribute. A month later, I am taking on those interviews I postponed. I know she would have wanted me to. I am thankful for much she gave me, but most of all for teaching me to love books.
Half for You and Half for Me, Best-Loved Nursery Rhymes and the Stories Behind Them was released by Whitecap Books in April 2014.
“Half for you and half for me / Between us two shall goodwill be.” Here is a nursery rhyme book to entertain both adult and child as they read together. The classic rhymes are side by side with annotations about their backstories: Who was Wee Willie Winkie? Did live blackbirds really fly out of a pie? Was Humpty Dumpty a person—or a clumsy cannon?
When she was small, Katherine Govier tucked in close to her mother’s side to listen to nursery rhymes. Later she read them to her own children, and now she has returned to reading them with her mother, who can no longer see well enough to read the pages of their nearly hundred-year-old Mother Goose book. Still, her mother can recite the words. What is the magic and what is the meaning of these rhymes that stay in our heads for a lifetime?
The answers are here. Some rhymes describe historical events and some are just plain nonsense. Some of the oldest rhymes were never intended for the nursery, but for the street— where they came to life as popular judgments on events of the day. In Half for You and Half for Me, the author breaks the codes of these nursery rhymes in accessible, amusing explanations. She also adds some classic Canadiana, including a poem by star children’s poet Dennis Lee.
Commissioned illustrations make this book full of colour to draw in the eye. Charming vintage drawings also pepper the text, firmly rooting the rhymes in their historical context.
Half for You and Half for Me will engage, delight, entertain and inform younger and older readers alike, and aims to be that favourite title that is pulled off the family shelf again and again.
Promotion for the book:
I am discovering how many people love nursery rhymes. When I went in to CBC Radio to do my Fresh Air interview I discovered that Mary Ito had the sportscaster and the newscaster reading rhymes on air. Here’s the link to the Q and A that ran in the Ottawa Citizen, the Edmonton Journal and the Vancouver Province … What’s your favourite nursery rhyme?