What former English major wouldn’t get a kick out of “The Lamb Cycle,” by David R. Ewbank, with illustrations by Kate Feiffer (Brandeis University Press)? In it, Ewbank, a Kent State University professor emeritus, imagines how English poets — from Spenser and Shakespeare to Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith — might have reworked the Mother Goose classic “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Here’s the appropriately macabre opening of Coleridge’s “The Crime of the Urchin Mary”: “It was an ancient crone who wrote / Silly rhymes for tots / Was stopped by a maid in a pinafore / With blood-red polkadots.” That last phrase delivers the true Gothic shiver.