Golden Egg for Other Goose

Last night Toronto artist and designer Barbara Wyn Klunder launched her first book, Other Goose: Recycled Rhymes for Our Times, adding to her impossibly long list of wildly diverse projects and another calling attention to issues of injustice, environment and crooked politicians.

The book, illustrated and written by Klunder, takes classic nursery rhymes and turns them on their heads. Jack and Jill go up the hill, but find the water is polluted. Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard is bare, so she has to visit the food bank. It's essentially a children's book that maintains a whimsy and playfulness throughout, but laughter is less through silliness and more through incisiveness. That incisiveness strikes at issues from organic farming and second-hand smoke, to logging and oil spills.

Klunder was inspired to write something that could charm kids away from the culture of over-consumption. "They're the ones who have to inherit this world," she notes. "Plus, kids are way smarter then we give them credit for."

The book itself is simple, elegant and beautiful. Each poem is presented with a rich black and white illustration in Klunder's recognizable graphically striking fashion.

It's a fun, smart, and beautiful book. I'm not a parent or teacher, I'll admit, but I think Other Goose would be a fantastic way to humorously introduce some important issues to children. Kids are never too young to hear about the environment and allergies and gasoline shortages, right?

And teachers, this book could be a foundation for a fun unit on topics like pollution and recycling. I remember back in elementary school much less inspiring stuff as the foundation of our toilet roll, plastic scissors and macaroni creations.

Last nights book launch (pictured below right, Barbara Wyn Klunder) was presented by Pages Books and Magazines and Groundwood Books at the Gladstone Hotel and was part of the fifth season of This is Not A Reading Series.


The original ink illustrations of the book will be on display (pictured above left) at the David Kaye Gallery until September 16, 2007.

If you aren't familiar with Barbara Wyn Klunder, take a moment to look at her website. Her career is as diverse as any artist you'll find and her passion for combining art and issues is inspiring.

"My job as an illustrator is simply to get you interested enough to read what needs to be read."

Next Wednesday, September 5th at the Gladstone Hotel, This Is Not A Reading Series will present a double book launch to honour the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On The Road. Ray Robertson, What Happened Later (Thomas Allen & Sons), & David Creighton, Ecstasy Of The Beats (Dundurn Press), in conversation with Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio's "Q". Doors open at 7PM and the event is free.

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