Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
Just as Humpty Dumpty landed on his head after "a great fall," local students will attempt to turn the world of Mother Goose rhymes upside down during the Clayton County Library System's Battle Creek Idol.
Starting at 2 p.m., this Saturday, at the headquarters library, elementary and middle school students will use music, and costumes, to perform classic poems in new and interesting ways. The headquarters library is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.
Headquarters Library Youth Services Assistant Sharon Jones said that at least 13 students have practiced their performances for the past three to four weeks. She said the performances will be set to "Mother Goose Rocks," a compilation of nursery rhymes set to the popular music styles of acts such as Madonna, Cher, Sum 41, and Chumbawamba.
"A lot of children aren't as familiar with Mother Goose now," Jones said. "A lot of these poems are 500 or 700 years old, but they can be just as good now as when they were written. They'll be performing to music. It's the same words, but it is given an update with rock."
According to Jones, children between the ages of 6 and 13 will sing personal renditions of nursery rhymes such as "This Old Man," "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe," "Humpty Dumpty," and "Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater." Members of the audience will choose the first-, second-, and third-place winners, and participants will receive medals and certificates for their participation, she said.
"There is nothing like having an audience clap for you to make you feel good and positive," Jones said. "There are a lot of words in these rhymes that are unfamiliar to them and they've found them easier to use in their everyday lives. It really helps with their self-esteem."
Shawn Marsh, a College Park resident, frequents the headquarters library with her children, Kennedy and Kristopher, who are 9 and 7 years old, respectively. She entered both of her children into the competition, she said.
"I thought it was a good idea," Shawn Marsh said. "It helps them gain memorization skills. It even reaches the older children, because sometimes, they think they are too old to learn nursery rhymes. These things are classics ... now they can catch onto it and pass it down to their kids."
Morrow resident Sabrinia Bell's 6-year-old daughter, Jasmine, will perform "Humpty Dumpty" on Saturday. Sabrinia Bell said the nature of the contest "grabs their attention" and turns the attention of students toward "something positive."
"She [Jasmine] is into 'Hannah Montana' and concert performances," she said. "I thought it would be a way for her to branch out and sing something positive, as opposed to the pop songs on the radio. She is very excited about it ... she wants to read more."
Clayton County Library Services Director Carol Stewart said Battle Creek Idol is "a fun idea" that may get more students interested in classic, children's literature.
"I read nursery rhymes to my son, but that is not done as much anymore," Stewart said. "Younger children really like rhyming things and it may bring back some things that aren't familiar to them. We're always wanting to attract more kids to the library and this is a way to show kids that there is something fun at the library."
The Battle Creek Idol performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call (770) 473-3850.