Mother Goose 2.0
March 20, 2021 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a children's book that features Mother Goose's nursery rhymes, but with the words updated for today's generation. I want the rhymes to follow traditional Mother Goose and the writing to be less outdated or nonsensical. I am sick of explaining to my toddler why the farmer's wife cut off the blind mice's tails with a carving knife—it's too macabre and pointless—but we love the traditional melodies. My dream is a nursery rhyme that uses 3 Blind Mice melody updated about the Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, or just less gibberish than the originals (I get that silly rhymes are fun for kids, so I'm open to that). Illustrations would also be great, since it's a kid's book.
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's Nursery Rhymes for Social Good
posted by oceano at 4:24 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also PETA rewrote several nursery rhymes to be animal friendly.
posted by oceano at 4:35 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think The Annotated Mother Goose is a fabulous book.
posted by jamjam at 5:00 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

The book This Little Piggy went to Prada is not exactly what you are looking for because you’d have to explain Prada and couture instead of farming terms, but I found a copy at a thrift store and it amused me. Might be a good jumping off point to making up your own rhymes.

You might also like Raffi. We sing a lot of “Down by the bay” which is great because it’s nonsensical.
posted by MadMadam at 5:11 PM on March 20, 2021

Best answer: The Annotated Mother Goose says about the "The three Blind Mice', for example, that according to The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes it is "probably the best known round in the world", that it's first known publication was in 1609, and that efforts have been made to identify the 'farmer's wife' with Mary I of England, and the 'three blind mice' with three prominent men who were burned at the stake during her reign. I didn’t know nursery rhymes as a kid, but when I read it in TAMG, I wondered whether the carving knife was meant to imply they made it into the stew, since baby mice that have yet to open their eyes were or still are a delicacy in many parts of the world.

You wouldn’t trouble your children with any of that except it’s venerable age and global popularity, of course, but it is part of what's bound our culture together for centuries, and I think it deserves more of a hearing before you toss it into the dustbin of History.
posted by jamjam at 5:25 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a toddler too. YMMV but my solution is often to write (and sometimes poorly illustrate) my own.

Couldn’t help writing a quick first draft of a BLM one to Three Blind Mice. The meter isn’t perfect, but it may be better for your (and my!) purposes than the original.

Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter.
We all have to help.
We all have to help.
We stand up strong for the things that are right,
Oppose p’lice violence by day and by night,
Use all our privilege to bolster the fight.
Black Lives Matter.

I will poorly illustrate this for you and your kid if you want.
posted by bananacabana at 8:56 PM on March 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

This is out of print but it is an absolute favorite in my family:
Catch Me & Kiss Me & Say It Again.

They are original nursery rhymes that have all of the rhythm and style of the old fashioned ones but fit in with the routines of every child's life (brushing teeth, pick-which-hand, going to bed).
You may be able to find it at your library or you can pick up a used copy on Amazon or Ebay if you keep an eye for them at a reasonable price.
posted by metahawk at 9:58 AM on March 21, 2021

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