mother goose mania

July 10, 2009

When Juliet was born, I was so excited about reliving the fun of my own childhood with my daughter. There were days when you could find me wandering down the doll aisle, daydreaming about little pink strollers, tiny little clothes with velcro closures, and those mini-bottles filled with what juliet now calls "orange milk."  

I looked at all the my little ponies, the barbies, the dress up clothes--everything girly and fun that I had loved as a child. I was overjoyed at the thought of having an actual excuse for playing with all that stuff again!

But, she was only a tiny baby and she couldn't even sit up on her own yet, much less play with a doll, so I held off on that. (Can't say the same thing for my mom, but that's another story entirely.)

We started reading books together and this of course started me off on a whole other set of daydreams. I wanted to read poetry to her! I thought of how much she would love Shakespeare and Barrett-Browning, Frost, and Poe. Surely she would love it as much as I did. Babies love poetry, don't they? 

But then I thought maybe that would be pushing it a bit. Maybe she doesn't want to read all that classic stuff just yet. So I went to the bookstore (something I rarely do, but this was important! My baby needed some poetry!) and I bought a collection of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. A nice board book--something we could read together and stand up to the vast amounts of slobber and tearing I was sure it would encounter. 

I bought the book and daydreamed about all the wonderful moments we would have snuggled up in a big chair reading this baby-friendly poetry together. 

I took it home. I read it to Juliet. And she HATED it. 

It was no good. Every time I so much as picked it up, she would grunt and grimace and let me know in her own grumpy baby way that she did NOT want to read that book. No! No! Anything but that one!

So I let that dream go. We found other books to read and everything was fine. From time to time I would pick it up, but it always met with the same emphatic NO! 

Then, a few months ago, we came across a copy of Mother Goose Rhymes at my parent's house. It was the copy I had read as a child. Juliet was FASCINATED with it. We had to read it from cover to cover over and over again. She could not get enough of it and was particularly intrigued by Humpty Dumpty whom she calls "Hunky Dunky." (I like the name so much I have taken to calling him Hunky Dunky as well.) 

When we got home, I pulled out the copy I had purchased for her as a baby (it was now living in the closet with the other banished books (more on that later)) and to my surprise, she loved it! We read all the stories and paid a particular amount of attention to our unfortunate egg friend, hunky dunky.

Now that Mother Goose was Juliet-approved, I set out to find more. I discovered that there are a million and one different Mother Goose collections out there. Enough choices to satisfy any particular taste. The one I bought is impossible to find a picture of online, I apologize for not having the cover for you to see. It is Called Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Illustrated by Jan Lewis and Sarah Smith. 

I also found a 1960 edition of Mother Goose Illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford at our local used bookstore. It has the sort of vintage-y look that I like. 

This week, I searched our local library. Here's what I found: 

The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster by David Conway. 

After you have tired of the traditional rhymes, pick this one up to mix it up a bit. Little Miss Muffet is tired of being scared by that spider, so she sets off to find a new rhyme to be in. Juliet loved watching Miss Muffet fall down the hill with Jack and Jill, run up the clock, and get into a fight with the dish after running away with the spoon. It's a cute fun book. 

The Golden Songbook Selected and Arranged by Katherine Tyler Wessells, Illustrated by Kathy Allert
If you read music or just like to sing, this is a fun one to check out. It has all the words set to music. Most of them you will find familiar, but the ones you don't can be easily played on the piano or guitar. Each page has music, but also a small illustration, so Juliet found it fun to look at while we sang together. 

Richard Scarry's Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever

If you don't want to mess with reading music, this is a great way to get all those songs back in your head. Juliet is seriously addicted to this dvd. I think we're going to have a problem when we have to give it back to the library tomorrow. 

Huckle the cat loses his pal Lowly Worm and finds himself in Mother Goose land. He searches for Lowly and on the way runs into Little Bo Peep, Mary and her lambs, Old King Cole and others. The songs are charming and well-sung. Juliet learned the words and tunes to almost all the songs. Our favorite one is the "three little kittens" song which is very fun to sing. 

I only have one experience to base this one, but I am thinking that the ideal age to introduce Mother Goose to your child is probably around 2 to 2 1/2 years. They love rhymes and just eat up all the silliness of eggs falling off walls and kittens losing their mittens. 

Anyone else have some favorite Mother Goose collections to recommend? 

Activity Ideas: 
These rhymes have provided some major fuel for Juliet's imaginative play this week. We have spent more time acting out these stories than we normally do with books. I have been Hunky Dunky falling off a wall, been a spider as juliet sits on the couch and eats her "curds", have been a kitten who lost her mittens, and have searched high and low for Lowly the worm. 

Pick any story that your child is particularly smitten by and then have fun acting it out. I think you'll find that they want to play this again and again. 

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