Comments from Shelly and Becca regarding Mother Goose rhymes further stimulated my curiosity, and I’ve been looking around. While I await my copy of The Annotated Mother Goose, by William S. and Ceil Baring-Gould (thanks for the heads up, Becca), I’ve discovered some interesting goosey things.
Did you know that May 1st is Mother Goose Day? I’ve always thought of May 1st as Dad’s birthday.
Did you know that there is a Mother Goose Society? There is. And they have an official Web site.
Did you know there’s a Mother Goose house in Hazard, KY?
My favorite Mother Goose Web site, though (so far anyway) is this one from Rutgers.
I’m afraid, however, that while I’m entertained by Mother Goose rhymes as an adult, I think I most agree with children’s poet and publisher, Bruce Lansky, when it comes to sharing them with kids.
I’m surprised by how much time you are willing to spend on something you don’t really care for (the lack of audio rhyming of Mother Goose, the ill-will of same, etc.). I, on the other hand, tend to avoid things I don’t really like (eg. cardiac nursing). Your approach is much more commendable.
I remember having a long conversation with a former coworker about Mother Goose and the origins of the poems. Many are sinister, indeed. Some about cholera/typhoid/the Black Plague (I forget which), specifically Ring Around the Rosy. Others about government and dictatorships (such as Jack & Jill and Humpty Dumpty). I don’t know the accuracy of what I heard, but it was on the disturbing side.
Mother Goose aside, lots of the old children’s stories were scary. I checked out The Three Little Pigs for Joshua and Jessica when we were in California. I quickly altered the story when Joshua became distressed over the demise of the pigs. Imagine how scary it is to little ones when several of the main characters of a story (with whom they identify) are eaten by another main character. Yikes. Aesop’s Fables are no better. Do you suppose that, in old times, the grown-ups actually enjoyed frightening the children?
Ooops. I forgot to mention something there. I recently read something (an article, maybe?) by the original Mary from Mary Had a Little Lamb. I think it was an article in which the original Mary was quoted, clarifying the origins of the story. It was fascinating and not-at-all sinister. Mary actually did take her lamb to school, prompting the author to write her verse. I just did a quick search to see if I could find it, but couldn’t. But you can go online and see the schoolhouse where the events took place. This story is actually fun and happy!
I had no idea there was a real Mary with a little lamb who followed her to school.
There is a reason for my interest in the Mother Goose verses; I’m just not talking about it. Yet.
Ooh, ooh, ooh. Is there a pattern in the offing?
I said I wasn’t talking…:-)