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Mother Goose Eggs: Sunnyside Up

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Looking for a place to lay blame for all the violence and cruelty in the world today? Lay it at the feet of Mother Goose. A close look at Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes reveals cruelty, violence and bizarre behaviour. Now consider that some, or even most, of the characters in the Mother Goose nursery rhymes were modelled on real people and you’ve got the beginnings of Mother Goose Eggs, sunnyside up.

Mother Goose laid some juicy goose eggs, sunnyside up, around the nursery. The rhymes we knew as children were also read aloud to our great, great, great grandparents and, in their day, the stories were intended to prepare them for survival in a world much tougher than our own.

Jim Westergard has selected some of the more violent, cruel and unusual nursery rhymes from Mother Goose and has imagined the characters as real people. As he offers the rhymes, often with additional verses never heard before, the artist presents his portrait of the younger participant in the rhyme. Then we’re confronted, on the opposing page, with the same character depicted much later in a life that has typically not been kind, together with Jim’s commentary on their plight.

60 Pages
8.75" x 5.5"

Jim Westergard was born in Ogden, Utah in 1939. He was educated at a variety of colleges and universities in California, Arizona and Utah where he completed his BFA and MFA at Utah State. Westergard taught at Metropolitan State College and Northern Illinois University before moving to Alberta in 1975, where he taught at Red Deer College until his retirement in 1999. He became a Canadian citizen in 1980.

Jim Westergard has been creating prints from wood engravings since university days in the late 60s, but had never completed a book-length collection until the original limited letterpress edition of Mother Goose Eggs. The first engraving for this project was finished in 1999. Then, after a four-year struggle which included an unexpected hernia operation and reprinting the press-sheets a second time with helpful hints from Crispin Elsted of the Barbarian Press (Mission, BC), Mother Goose Eggs was finally bound and released in a deluxe edition of eighty copies in 2003.

The Porcupine’s Quill is an artisanal book publisher that values the art and craft of the book in form and content. They specialize in acquiring work by Canadian authors whose voices are new, underrepresented or verging on oblivion, with a particular focus on books that represent the intersection between literature and other creative disciplines: between text and image, memoir and music, letterpress and offset.