Well. It’s the last day of April, folks. Though I’m a big believer in poetry every day of the year, I’ll miss National Poetry Month 2009. I thought we’d say goodbye to it with the one and only matron of children’s literature, Mother Goose.
There are a whole slew, to be precise, of Mother Goose collections out there. And, by all means, if you want to know the weird and wonderful stories behind how these weird and wonderful rhymes came about, pick up a copy of Chris Roberts’ entertaining Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme (first published in 2004 by Granta Books). I blogged about it here, back in the Dark, Dark Times When Our Images Were Lamentably Small.
As I mentioned back then: Heavy Words Lightly Thrown is a raucous and very fun read. And you gotta love a book that takes its title from a Smiths’ song anyway. Who knew that the lullaby “Rock-a-bye, baby” (pictured left as British author and illustrator Tony Ross illustrated it) could be a warning about hubris? And that “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” above, is all about taxation? And that one saucy explanation for “Jack and Jill” is: