Monday, April 01, 2013

Blast from the Poetry Past: circa 1765

As we seek to share poetry with children, it can be interesting to revisit the roots of the genre and appreciate the milestones from the last 200 years  and how they shape poetry for young people today. This month’s daily poetry posts focus on the history of poetry publishing for young people in English. I also offer “contemporary connections” I think might be fun to make with each historic milestone. Your own comments and connections are welcome too, of course.

What is the first printed work of poetry for young readers (in English?)

Mother Goose, most likely.

John Newbery published a collection of English rhymes, Mother Goose's Melody, or, Sonnets for the Cradle in London way back in 1765.

Contemporary Connections
There are a ton of variations of Mother Goose collections, from classic British nursery rhymes, to rhymes from different cultural and linguistic traditions, to clever “riffs” on the rhyme + nonsense formula. Here are a few of my more recent favorites.
  • Crews, Nina. 2004. The Neighborhood Mother Goose. New York: Greenwillow.
  • Dillon, Leo and Diane. 2007. Mother Goose; Numbers on the Loose. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.
  • Hoberman, Mary Ann. 2005. You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You; Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together. Ill. by Michael Emberley. Boston: Little, Brown.
  • Mathers, Petra. Ed. 2012. The McElderry Book of Mother Goose: Revered and Rare Rhymes Compiled and Illustrated by Petra Mathers. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
  • Merriam, Eve. 1996. The Inner City Mother Goose. Ill. by David Diaz. New York: Simon &; Schuster.
  • Nursery Rhyme Comics; 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists. New York: First Second. 2011.
  • Opie, Iona Archibald. 1999. Here Comes Mother Goose. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  • Opie, Iona Archibald. Ed. 1996. My Very First Mother Goose. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  • Peck, Jan and Davis, David. (Eds.) 2011. The Green Mother Goose; Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time. Ill. by Carin Berger. New York: Sterling.
  • Sanderson, Ruth. 2008. Mother Goose and Friends. New York: Little, Brown.

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.

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Mary Lee said...

Hooray for Mother Goose!

Linda B said...

I have several of these, including a favorite, Eve Merriam's Inner City Mother Goose, fun for older students! I'd like to add The Real Mother Goose, a favorite in our home, all of which I found online at It was originally published in 1916. Thanks for this idea for poetry month, Sylvia. I know it will be enjoyable!

Janet Wong said...

I didn't realize you were going back CENTURIES--good thing we have all of April!