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October 29, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kristi Bernard

The History of Nursery Rhymes

Building A Child’s Library

Lots of parents have been known to start a child down the path of reading by introducing them to nursery rhymes. And why not? I have to admit they are easy to remember and lots of fun. What most parents may not realize is that some nursery rhymes have an interesting history behind them. In some instances a nursery rhyme was created under a political aspect or has stemmed from an actual event. Nonetheless, learning about the history of nursery rhymes is fun and educational.

Do you remember this nursery rhyme?

Ring around the rosy,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes, Ashes,
We all fall down.

In England, during the time of the Bubonic plague, the symptoms of this nasty disease included red round puss filled sores that could be found on the bodies of its victims and were called rosies. Posies, a type of flower, were placed in the pockets of the deceased as a warning to others to stay away. The line, “Ashes, Ashes” meant the bodies needed to be burned to avoid spreading the disease. And finally, “We all fall down” reflects how this disease almost brought down an entire civilization. It’s a gruesome start for a nursery rhyme, but it was an important method of teaching and warning people who lived during that time the signs of what to look for with regard to this plague. You have to admit, it is a very catchy rhyme.

How about Little Miss Muffet, do you remember her? Well, rumor has it she was a real little girl. This of course is still under debate with regard to the scholars. Her name was Patience Muffet. Supposedly, her stepfather, Dr. Muffet was a bug guy or entomologist. How ironic is that? Patience was sitting one day eating breakfast when one of the doctors spiders crawled up beside her and frightened her away. Hence the rhyme:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

These are just a few examples of the history of nursery rhymes. Some of these tales have a ghastly past, while others are simple yet interesting. I absolutely want to encourage every parent to share nursery rhymes with their children no matter the child’s age. As they grow, together you can dig up these wonderful tidbits. Reading is important and fun and will peak a child’s curiosity. As always, happy reading!

Title: The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster 

Author: David Conway

Illustrator: Melanie Williamson

Publisher: Tiger Tales an imprint of ME Media, LLC

Ages: 3 to 7 years

ISBN: 9781589254381

Review:

What do you think could happen if a nursery rhyme character decided to make a change? Well, in The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster, the keyword being disaster, Little Miss Muffet causes a serious ruckus. You see, one day Little Miss Muffet decided she wanted to visit some of the other nursery rhymes on the other pages. The Grand Old Duke of York had too much marching going on. On the next page, Little Miss Muffet didn’t care much for broken crowns when she stumbled across Jack and Jill. This goes on and on as Little Miss Muffet encounters Three Blind Mice, Johnny Flynn and Tommy Stout and The Cat and the Fiddle. But it was when she met the Dish and the Spoon that all the ruckus started.

David Conway takes kids on a journey through some of the favorite and most recognizable nursery rhymes. Bigger than life characters created in fun colorful drawings are silly. There are lots of funny things going on in every part of the page. Kids will love the challenges and could perhaps create their own outcome of this hilarious tale. Visit www.tigertalesbooks.com.

 

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Kristi Bernard writes books for children. She also writes book reviews for Tiger Tales Books, The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database(CLDC), National Geographic Kids, Book Pleasures, Barnes & Nobles and various other outlets. Kristi has featured articles and book reviews at The National Writing For Children Center (NWFCC) in which she was a contributing editor,and has one contests for her writing. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Association of Children’s Authors & Illustrators of Color (ACAIC). Her blogs are The Neophyte Writer (http://kristibernard.wordpress.com) – a writers journey, writing tips and author interviews and Kristi’s Book Nook (http://kristisbooknook.blogspot.com) – book reviews, amazon specials, author promotions, and book giveaways.

5 Comments

Comments (5)

  • Not sure what happened the first paragraph should read as follows:
    Lots of parents have been known to start a child down the path of reading by introducing them to
    nursery rhymes. And why not? I have to admit they are easy to remember and lots of fun. What most
    parents may not realize is that some nursery rhymes have an interesting history behind them. In some
    instances a nursery rhyme was created under a political aspect or has stemmed from an actual event.
    Nonetheless, learning about the history of nursery rhymes is fun and educational.

  • Thanks Cristina for making the corrections!

  • Renee Vermillion

    Fascinating information! I truly had no idea of the origin of nursery rhymes that were included in each of my children’s childhood storytimes.

  • Aimee Bernard

    That was very interesting I didn’t know the history behind those nursery rhymes. Makes me want to learn the histories behind my favorite rhymes! Thank you for sharing Kristi!

  • Awesome stuff!!! You can always find some great readings to share. Thank you for caring and sharing Kristi!!!

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