Nursery rhymes, are they nursery safe?

I love nursery rhymes. And I love fairy tales. I briefly talked about them in the post about DD being Snow White, and that their purpose is often to help children understand big life issues, in small easy to cope with pieces.

Nursery rhymes are often political in nature though, or started as cruel playground chants about real events. Not so much made for children as hijacked by them or create by them. Children too can be vicious and cruel.

This came to mind the other day when someone on twitter commented on a book their child had brought home from school, the story involved throat slitting! And other tweeters joined in the discussion of its suitability. I was immediately cast into my childhood, and a book I was given in 1968 when I was 3. The Giant Golden Mother Goose. I still have it.

I thought I'd share some of the best, the most gruesome of the nursery rhymes, most of them became favourites and I read them with glee to DD.  

Of course you have all heard "Fee Fi fo fum.." 

And then there is rock a by baby where a baby falls from a tree, or the maid that has her nose pecked off in Sing a song of sixpence. In Ding, Dong, Dell a cat is flung into a well and nearly drowned...

But there are more, so many more, so let me share some childhood memories.

baby and i were baked in a pie nursery rhyme
Baking children in pies, OK then...
two cats of kilkenny nursery rhyme
Cats beating and scratching each other so much there is only fur left...
there was a man in our town nursery rhyme
A personal favourite due to the awful imagry and the bizarreness of the poem
davy davy dumpling
And back to eating children again, I adore this rhyme and often sang it to DD with her name in place of Davy, while pretending to eat her!

What are your favourite nursery rhymes?


  1. I saw someone else had a similar post a while back, told us the origins of some of the more popular nursery rhymes. I can't remember any off the top of my head but they were awful!! X

  2. Like Ring a Roses being about plague? Maybe we could write one about ebola?

  3. I hadn't read the Davy Dumpling one but love it! Will be singing it next time I gobble up Baby D's chunky baby thighs! Lol

  4. YES! It's perfect for that! :)

  5. I have always wondered about the suitability of nursery rhymes but they are so loved and we all know them so I have read to my baby.


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