Archive | January 31, 2022

Round and Round the Garden: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes

Round and Round the Garden: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes

Round and Round the Garden: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes











Round and Round the Garden: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes

Shirley Hughes

Walker, 2021

64pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


Nursery rhymes – those jingles, riddles, tongue-trippers, finger games,  lullabies and prayers that we can still recall from our own childhood – are the heritage of centuries of oral tradition as they were passed from one generation to the next down through the ages.  From the research of Iona and Peter Opie , pioneers in the study of childhood culture, play and literature, it is evident that as well as the oral retelling, nursery rhymes have been in printed format since the reign of England’s George II in the mid-1700s meaning that many more have survived than otherwise might have.

So, as childhood entertainment becomes so much more diverse in both culture and format this collection of 60 of the more well-known rhymes has an important place in not only preserving this form of children’s literature from the past but also in introducing our youngest to common chants that it is presumed they know. How many times have they heard, “Rain, rain go away” recently, the drought being all but a memory?  And while there is also a doorway into times past as many spring from people or events or yesteryear – who has actually seen a child running through the town in a nightgown and carrying a candlestick? – they can also become a  springboard to a whole range of investigations. For example, “The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe” creates opportunities to explore mathematics; “Humpty Dumpty” is a great introduction to investigate the things that come from eggs; “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” can take them to the stars and back; and Little Miss Muffet opens up the world of spiders and other mini-beasts Below is a table of contents I prepared for a book I was going to write called Rhyme and Reason which would have introduced littlies to information literacy through nursery rhymes.



General Focus

What are little boys made of? The child as a person
The old woman in a shoe The family and the class
Boys and girls come out to play Games and activities
Little Miss Muffet; Incy Wincy Spider Fears, spiders
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; The man in the moon; Hey Diddle Diddle Day & Night; Space
Solomon Grundy Routines,  Days of the Week
Hickory Dickory Dock Time , Mice
Sing a song of sixpence Money & Budgeting
Three Little Kittens Pets
One, two three four five; One, two, buckle my shoe Counting; fish
Hot Cross Buns Easter
The crooked little man Houses and homes
It’s raining it’s pouring; Whether the weather be fine; I hear thunder Weather
Six little mice sat down to spin Staying safe; Protective behaviours
Mary had a little lamb School, On the Farm
Wee Willie Winkie; Starlight star bright Bedtime; Dreams
Queen of Hearts Honesty, Taking responsibility
Thirty days hath September Months
Baa Baa Black Sheep/ Little Boy Blue Farms
Hickety Pickety my black hen Food
Humpty Dumpty The secret life of eggs
Jack and Jill The importance of water
Three Blind Mice Senses
Rub-A-Dub Dub Jobs and careers
Little Boy Blue On the Farm

Many of these rhymes are in this collection and they are illustrated in a style reminiscent of times gone by, giving the whole that olde-world feeling that many of us associate with the collections that we had in the past. And with some imagination, they could form the basis of a year’s work for our youngest readers either at school or at home!

My research for Rhyme and Reason led me down many fascinating paths, particularly the origins of and history associated with these rhymes but it was more difficult to find illustrated collections.  I am thrilled to be able to add this to the tiny collection I was able to acquire.  May there be more.