Nursery Rhymes

nursery rhymes, verses, generally brief and usually anonymous, for children. The best-known examples are in English and date mostly from the 17th cent. A popular type of rhyme is used in "counting-out" games, e.g., "Eenie, meenie, minie, mo." The subject matter of the rhymes has been linked by some scholars to actual events in English political history. Most famous of nursery rhymes is the Mother Goose collection.

See Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, ed. by I. and P. Opie (1952); studies by L. Eckenstein (1906, repr. 1968) and H. Bett (1924, repr. 1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Nursery Rhymes: Selected full-text books and articles

The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book By Iona Opie; Peter Opie Oxford University Press, 1955
The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes By Peter Opie; Iona Opie Oxford University Press, 1997 (2nd edition)
Thinking through the Arts By Wendy Schiller Harwood Academic, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Nursery Rhymes"
The Natural History of Make-Believe: A Guide to the Principal Works of Britain, Europe, and America By John Goldthwaite Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "The World Three Inches Tall: The Descent of the Nursery Rhyme"
English Children's Books, 1600 to 1900 By Percy Muir B.T. Batsford, 1954
Librarian’s tip: "A Note on Nursery Rhymes" begins on p. 76
The English Carol By Erik Routley Oxford University Press, 1959
The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature By Humphrey Carpenter; Mari Prichard Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Nursery Rhymes or Mother Goose Rhymes" begins on p. 382
Times & Tides By Tudor-Craig, Pamela History Today, Vol. 47, No. 1, January 1997
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