SOME picture-books, the quick slick kind, are an extravagance at
fifteen bob, but at thirty- five shillings Raymond Briggs's superb Mother Goose Treasury (Hamish Hamilton) is a bar- gain. It has everything child and adult look for in a collection of nursery rhymes: hun- dreds of rhymes (in the traditional Opie form) and large pages which teem with illustrations of high quality, hectic activity, riotous colour and an abundance of earthy humour. Ray- mond Briggs knows that whilst the parent reads the rhyme, the young child will 'read' his pictures, so, not flagging for an instant, the artist draws zestfully on, illustrating every action in every verse. On unusually good paper, strongly bound and opening wide and flat to let in many eager noses at once, the Mother Goose Treasury is a book any family should be thrilled to find in its pillow-case on Christmas morning.