Cover image for Mockingbird
Ahlberg, Allan.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 27 cm
A variation of an old lullaby in which adoring family and friends promise the baby an assortment of presents.
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Hush little baby.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Little Books

On Order



Allan Ahlberg breathes spirited new life into the comforting strains of a traditional lullaby.

Author Notes

Allan Ahlberg was born in 1938 in South London, and grew up in the Black Country. He worked as a teacher, postman, grave digger, soldier and plumber's mate before he became a full-time writer.

He met his wife and creative partner, Janet at teacher training college. It was because Janet wanted to illustrate a book that Allan wrote his first book, the Brick Street boys. After that, together they wrote 37 books.

Janet died in 1994 and Ahlberg discontinued his writing career for a few years before picking it up again.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 1^-4. Based on the folk song "Hush, Little Baby," this charming picture book plays around a bit with the familiar words and the story but keeps the general form of the repetitive verse as well as the aura of warmth and security that the song has always brought to children. Here the words suggest that Mama buys the baby a mockingbird, which doesn't sing. Papa supplies a garden swing, which gets stuck. Sister Polly contributes a pedal truck, which turns over, just in time for sister Rosie to buy a dog named Rover. And so on through the day, until baby goes to bed, maybe to dream of a mockingbird. Turn-of-the-century flavor notwithstanding, the illustrations have none of the coyness, stiffness, or sentimentality so often associated with picture books set in "the good old days." Howard captures the expressions and movements of the characters, particularly the children, with freshness and humor. The lines may be soft and the colors gentle, but there's no mistaking the disapproving wriggle of the baby when his mother wipes his face with a washcloth. Howard conveys the period through details of costume, interior decoration, and playthings, yet his meticulous attention to detail never detracts from the depiction of the characters and the story. Even if you have every other picture-book version of the song, make room for this beguiling edition. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Ahlberg's (the Jolly Postman books) warm variation on the traditional "Hush, Little Baby" lullaby, an entire family tries to please its youngest member. Here the gifts that turn out to be lemons‘mockingbird, pedal truck, Rover (no diamond ring in this version)‘don't all come from Mama; in fact, the consolation (yet most successful) prize turns out to be a birthday cake baked by Papa. Howard's (A Year in the City) golden-hued, thoughtfully detailed illustrations create a turn-of-the-century setting. The cozy interiors, cunning toys, the big floppy bows in one girl's hair and the jelly roll at tea are sweetly nostalgic, but what is most striking about the artwork is the liveliness of its inhabitants. Not only are the scenes animated, but each character's face is expressive; each seems to have his or her own thoughts. Even though the presents don't all work out, children are likely to think this baby pretty lucky. Ages 3-6. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-A familiar childhood lullaby becomes a family affair in this delightful variation of "Hush Little Baby." The comfortable rhythmic lyrics begin as expected with Mama buying her baby a mockingbird. But when the bird won't sing, Papa steps in with "a garden swing." Next, sisters Polly and Rosie provide "a pedal truck" and "a dog named Rover." Granny gets into the act when the dog gets away and she promises to chase him "if it takes all day." But when it starts to rain, baby is rushed inside for a big surprise: "Papa's gone and baked you...a birthday cake." Howard's watercolor-and-crayon illustrations are packed with humor and details of life in this Victorian household. Full-page illustrations balance smaller vignettes with plenty of restful white space and large, easy-to-read typeface. A well-designed layout controls the pace of the story and, despite the lack of music, readers will be singing this book aloud.-Paula A. Kiely, Milwaukee Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.