Characteristics of Mother Goose Rhymes
Mother Goose Rhymes and Child Development
Illustrators of Mother Goose Rhymes
Part A. Historical
Original Mother Goose
books share the characteristics of two types of literature:
folktales and rhymes.
Charles Perraults "Tales
of Mother Goose" ("Contes de ma mθre l'Oye") or called
"Histories and Tales of Long Ago, with Morals" was published in
France. This book contained none of the rhymes associated with
Mother Goose, but a collection of eight famous folk tales,
Sleeping Beauty in the Wood ", "Little
Red Riding Hood" , Blue
Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots, The
Fairies, and "Cinderella;
or, The Little Glass Slipper, Ricky
of the Tuft, and Little
Perrault's tales were translated into English by Robert
Samber. The words on the frontispiece were "Mother Goose's
The earliest known collection of nursery rhymes
called "Tommy Thumb's Song Book" was published in London by Mary
1765 - The single most important promoter of the
designation of Mother Goose as writer of children's rhymes was
John Newbery (1713-1767). He adopted this name for a
collection of mostly traditional rhymes: "Mother
Goose's Melody" or called "Sonnets
for the Cradle." The date for publication of this
important edition is agreed by scholars to be about 1765
It was a little volume, described as a compilation of
traditional English nonsense songs and rhymes. It contained 52
rhymes each with its own black and white illustration.
Isaiah Thomas published the first authorized American edition
of "Mother Goose's Melody".
3) The Term
Goose" was associated with a mythical teller of nursery rhymes
for young children. No one is sure where Perrault found this
name. It may be given to a woman who, in early times, kept the
village geese and who was the traditional community storyteller.
In 1860, a
claim was made that the originator of the tales was Elizabeth
Goose, great-grandmother of publisher Isaiah Thomas's wife.
Scholars have searched fruitlessly for the supposed "ghost
volume" which simply does not appear to exist.
* Find more
historical information about Mother Goose in
Just Who Was Mother Goose and
Mother Goose Origins.
Part B. Characteristics of
Mother Goose Rhymes
rhymes are derived from war songs, romantic lyrics, proverbs,
riddles, political jingles and lampoons, and street cries (the
early counterparts of todays television commercials). Few of
these rhymes were initially intended for children.
Mother Hubbard, Simple
Grundy and Tom
Tom the Pipers Son.
a Song of Six Pence, Old
King Cole and The
Queen of Hearts
rhymes are often criticized for their share of violence.
a Bye Baby
was an Old Woman who Lived in the Shoe, and Peter,
Peter, Pumpkin Eater.
violence in nursery rhymes is not sensationalized. There
are no terrifying elements and the context of the violence is
not only fictional but absurd.
It can be
argued that this verbal expression of aggressive behavior may
help children to vent natural hostilities and pent-up anxieties.
In fact, it is
fun to read Mother Goose rhymes. Their delightful nonsense
and eccentric characters remain with us long beyond
Part C. Mother Goose Rhymes
and Child Development
Two, Buckle My Shoe
Two, Three, Four, Five/Once I caught a fish alive, Ten
Little Monkeys, Ten
Green Bottles and As
I was going to St. Ives Rhyme.
Picture Alphabet Rhyme, and The
Alphabet in Rhyme and Song.
Reading Skills (including word-recognition skills,
vocabulary and structural knowledge, and content knowledge)
a Sense of Humor (appreciation of nonsense)
Dickory Dock, Humpty
Diddle Dumpling, My Son John, and Hey
diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle
For tongue twisters,
see examples: How
Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck?, Peter
Piper, and Betty
Sensitivity to Pattern
idea of pattern forms the basis of much art, for pattern
results in order and beauty.
Educational Activities Inc.
and Physical Development
(a clapping rhyme), Bingo
(a clapping rhyme),
Bridge is Falling Down (an action rhyme).
** See more Chants,
Clapping Games, and Jump Rope Rhymes.
Illustrators of Mother
He designed and
wood engraved the book Illustrations
of Mother Gooses Melodies published by Evert Duyckinck and
Charles Moreau in 1873. See There
was an old woman, she liv'd in a shoe, Jacky,
come give me your fiddle and Two
and 1876, Crane produced over thirty so-called "toy books". He
took these books so seriously that he worked over every page,
including the typography, so that it came out a well-composed
whole. His "Babys
Opera" and "Baby's
Bouquet" (1877) were a series of English nursery
songs with words, music, and pictures.
Around 1878 he
began to work on the picture storybooks. He transformed
the world of children's books in the Victorian era.
His illustrated Mother Goose rhymes in paper-covered book form
are among his loveliest and most original creations.
He is often
described as the father of the modern picture book,
being the first to really explore and experiment with the
relationship between text and image. Before
Caldecott, illustration generally duplicated the story
conveyed by the words, but the two became fused together,
making complete sense only when viewed as a whole.
His art is
characterized by an economy of line and a playfulness of
manner that make his work appealing even today, more than a
century after his death.
American Library Association annually awards the
Caldecott Medal, which began in 1938 and was named in
his honor, to the illustrator of the most
distinguished childrens picture book published in the
Queen of Hearts (1881) and Sing
a Song of Sixpence (1880).
the book Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes published in London in
She is best
known for sugar-sweet pictures of innocent children and
girls in bonnets. Her light, sketchy style was
uncommon at the time, with the traditional illustrators
trying to get as much detail and "verisimilitude" into their
drawings as possible.
by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information
Professionals in the U.K., has been given annually to the
illustrator of the most distinguished childrens book
published in the U.K. since 1957.
an example of Kate Greenaways work.
the book The
True Mother Goose - Songs for the Nursery or called Mother
Goose's Melodies for Children published in Boston in 1895.
Her works have a comic touch. See Jack
Miss Muffet, Sing
a Song of Sixpence and Pat-A-Cake.
the book "The Nursery Rhymes of Mother Goose" for St. Nicholas
Magazine in 1913. In his illustrations, there are earthy old
witches and eerie creatures. His pictures are very alive with
details and some of them are surrealistic. See Little
Miss Muffet, Hey!
Diddle, Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle and As
I Was Going to St. Ives.
the book The
Real Mother Goose in 1916 and 1944. The lines in her works
are clean and sharp and the characters are well-defined. See
Queen of Hearts, Pat-A-Cake,
a Song of Sixpence (find more at
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes at byGosh.com).
Part E. Learning Activity:
Please go to
Mother Goose: A Scholarly Exploration at Rutgers University.
Study the visual interpretations of the following rhymes and be
prepared to give an oral report next week.
Little Miss Muffet
Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat
Three Blind Mice
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat
Old Mother Hubbard
Sing a Song of Sixpence
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe