I picked up Rhymes from the Wicked Nursery by JD Estrada because I love his work. I’ve read several things by him now and am never disappointed by what I read. This latest poetry collection lives up as well.
There are several things I loved about this collection. I’ll start with the more obvious. This poetry collection is dark, creepy, and a little twisted. What’s better is that I think it strikes a good balance of that macabre without being overly so. Just little tastes of it sprinkled into every poem. Enough to be clear it’s not sunshine and roses, but not to where it’s gross or overdone.
Another thing I appreciated with this collection is that Estrada plays on many well-known nursery rhymes and poems. Only he turns them on their ear to give them a not-so-happy-ending. Well, sometimes it’s an even darker ending than the original. After all, it’s not like some of our well-loved rhymes are all that happy to begin with. But the familiarity makes those twisted takes even more fun.
Finally, I loved the almost childish feel of the collection. Trust me, it’s not one I’d read to my nine-year-old. This collection is more childish in that it plays to the part in all of us that wants to be petty and mean-spirited sometimes. You know, that good childish. Like where we can fantasize about something before coming back to reality and knowing we can’t act on it.
As far as dislikes, I can’t highlight anything. I mean, just like any anthology or collection, some pieces stuck out in a good way, and a few were ones that just didn’t sing for me. I don’t count that as a bad thing. I mean, we can’t like everything all the time, right?
In the end, I say go out and get this. You might devour it in a single sitting, but it’s worth it. Just make sure you’re not feeling too squeamish when you read it.