In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.
This anthology is populated by numerous stories that each take one specific Mother Goose tale and rewrite it as a YA paranormal short story. Some of these stories are more successful than others in correctly portraying the intent and feel of the original rhyme while others are more a facsimile of the original rhyme than a true retelling.
I enjoyed most of the stories. They truly are dark and do not promise a neat and tidy resolution at the end, most often having open-ended endings that could go either way. There are also potential longer stories that can be developed into novels and I have no doubt that some of the authors may just go that way. One of the creepiest stories in the collection just may be “Little Miss Muffet” though of course that could only be because I hate spiders so much. One I enjoyed a lot is “As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old” by Nina Berry. It was creepy and fulfilling in the short length it was granted. “Sing a Song of Six Pence” by Sarwat Chadda is also intriguing as is Blue by Sayantani Gupta.
Readers looking for a nostalgic look at childhood through the lens of this book will be disappointed but readers who go in expecting childhood dressed in somber colours with danger whispering in the corners will love this book.