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The Annotated Mother Goose: With an Introduction and Notes

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Theories of origins and histories of nursery and folk rhymes. Not just "Mother Goose."
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published December 12th 1988 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1962)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
My two-year-old niece has memorized "Diddle-Diddle Dumpling My Son John," which is but one more way she charms us.

I like the notes in this collection which are ridiculous and serious:

"Tinkers--itinerant menders of pots and pans--were often gypsies, who trad. had a bad reputation for honesty."
"It seems that men, not necessarily gentleman, preferred blondes many years...This lass indicates she has had the misfortune to be born a brunette."
"Originally, 'Jack Pratt'--a 16th and 17th c. name for a dw
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun exploration of nursery rhymes. I was surprised to learn some of them are more than 1000 years old. The annotations clarify archaic words and confirm or refute historic references. Many of the rhymes I’d been told were about Henry VIII probably aren’t. But “Hey Diddle Diddle” turns out to be about Elizabeth I and her court. The volume is chock full of delightful illustrations by the likes of Arthur Rackham and Kate Greenaway. I found the newer rhymes far less interesting than the o ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nursery Rhymes were blunter back in the day. My young grandsons fall to the floor laughing when I recite "Little Robin Redbreast sat on a pole. Niddle noddle went his head and poop went his hole."
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though it’s entirely impossible to have a truly complete collection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, this annotated collection by the Baring-Goulds is an admirable attempt. It holds an astounding number of nursery rhymes, both familiar and more obscure, which I found rather delightful to peruse. Discovering new rhymes and recollecting old ones seems to be the entire point of the collection, since the authors admit that they omitted some of the most commonplace pieces because they had no real ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: beverly-years
Rachel brought me this book, a poor cast off from the Tewksbury Public Library. The introduction was worth the cost. We were laughing riotously in bed at the both the inappropriateness of some of the old rhymes and the Victorian, pearl-clutching responses to them. Having read into the book a bit, I have appreciated some of the folk wisdom, explained in the annotations, which has included the Christian names once given to birds, and thoughts on what hickory, dickery might have meant. If this look ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun look at the history of nursery rhymes, lullabies, and other Mother Goose esque items. I learned a lot, and was blown away by the fact that Ring Around the Rosie is actually not a plague rhyme!
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
You’d think that three hundred fifty pages of nursery rhymes would be a quick, breezy read. But not so. This book takes a bit of work and stamina to drive through it. It becomes a slog.

Part of this I blame on the layout. The annotations are often on a different page than the rhymes. So this makes for a lot of back and forth between pages, which is compounded by the book being rather oversized. So each reading session becomes of a tussle with a book that’s almost too big to hold in your hands.

Christy Bennett
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nursery-rhymes
1. No awards
2. All grades
3. This 350 page collection of nursery rhymes contains classic black and white illustrations from Caldecott, Greenaway, and Rackham, among others. It not only contains the classic Mother Goose, but includes poetry, lullabies, love songs, and tongue twisters from yesteryear. Foot notes, explanations, and introductions are provided throughout the whole collection.
4. Although the illustrations are sparse, they are classic and beautiful. A small child might not necessarily b
Dixie Diamond
Jan 16, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an interesting idea, but the "annotations" are often needlessly chatty, and the layout of my edition is really unpardonable: Tiny typeface, and notes that don't line up with the lines. I don't want to have to page back and forth to find the corresponding notes.

It feels like a lot of strenuous writing with very little basis.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya, own
Mother Goose Rhymes are sort of a hobby reading sideline for me. I love the tales behind the tales.
May 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Nursery rhymes are not for kids. Most of them were written as polital slogans.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, ya, ref
Interesting notes about what stuff refers too.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: unfinished
Enjoyable, although the cattiness has dated somewhat -- but unfinished because a little goes a long way.
A. Kuhlii
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full of information about the folk and publication history of Mother Goose rhymes plus lesser known rhymes, songs and riddles.
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
We never read about "Little Robin Redbreast / Sitting on a pole ... " as children.
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2009
Bill Morse
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Mar 11, 2013
Alison C
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Mar 02, 2015
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Jul 17, 2013
Jody Jones
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Oct 17, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Sep 08, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2013
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Oct 06, 2007
rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2009
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Sep 30, 2014
rated it it was ok
Sep 08, 2019
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Jan 17, 2013
Dick Baldwin
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Jul 10, 2008
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William Stuart Baring-Gould (1913–1967) was a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar, best known as the author of the influential 1962 fictional biography, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A life of the world's first consulting detective.

He was creative director of Time magazine's circulation and corporate education departments from 1937 until his death. His paternal grandfather was Reverend Sabine Baring-

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