This classic dictionary brings together over 500 nursery rhymes, songs, nonsense jingles, lullabies, and rhyming alphabets traditionally handed on to young children. All the items have been arranged alphabetically, from 'A was an apple-pie' to 'Yankee Doodle came to town' and include such favourites as 'A frog he would a-wooing go', 'Baa, baa, black sheep', 'Dance to your daddy', 'Jack and Jill', and 'Old Mother Hubbard'. With each item comes a unique set of historical and bibliographical notes that record the earliest known publication of each piece, describe the circumstances of its origin, illustrate changes in wording over time, and indicate variations and parallels in other languages. In a detailed and fascinating introduction, the editors describe the different types of rhyme, the earliest published collections, theories of origins, and such questions as whether or not individual rhymes originally portrayed real people and who was Mother Goose. Complementing the rhymes are nearly a hundred illustrations, including reproductions of early appearances in ballad sheets and music books, which show the development of nursery rhyme illustrations over the last two centuries.
For this revised edition, the notes have been updated and extended in the light of recent scholarship, providing an unrivalled wealth of literary and bibliographical information. There is also a new essay on the singing tradition of nursery rhymes by Cecily Raysor Hancock, making The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes an indispensable source of reference for scholars and book collectors, and a volume to be treasured by parents and children alike. 'No reader's imagination could fail to be enriched by this book' - Sunday Times 'The classic on the subject' - Daily Telegraph.
Iona Opie is a leading authority on children's lore and literature. With her late husband, Peter, she wrote the pioneering study of children's culture, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, followed by its companions Children's Games in Street and Playground and The Singing Game. The Opies have also edited The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, and The Classic Fairy Tales.