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The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes by…
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The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951)

by Iona Opie, Peter Opie

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Most reference books inspire imitation. This one inspires only admiration.

The reason is simple: To create another such reference, particularly one that would improve on the Opies's work, would be almost impossible.

There are a number of factors that make this a great book. To begin with, its fullness -- 550 nursery rhymes. Also there is the organization: The rhymes are organized topically by the key concept, but with an index of first lines so that they can be found by that means also. This organization has the advantage that it makes it easy to find multiple rhymes on the same topic. There is also an index of "notable figures" so that a reader can track down which editors were responsible for preserving and setting down particular rhymes.

And, in addition to the rhymes, there are the notes. These include historical and background notes, source notes, and cross-references. Often these are longer than the nursery rhyme itself, and frequently include variant forms of the rhyme.

Throw in a significant number of illustrations from early printings of the rhymes, and the net result is a book that almost certainly contains just about every useful fact known about these much-loved short poems. There are a few places where one can quibble with the result. But, after more than half a century, there has been no attempt to replace, or even to supplement, this book. That should be testimony enough to its quality. ( )
  waltzmn | Nov 29, 2012 |
I enjoyed reading this book. I found that many of these poems have been turned into songs. I would use this to introduce poetry to young students. Children love to sing and by using these poems in a song might make the lesson more engaging for students.
Here are more poems by Iona And Peter Opie. I think many of these poems can be used in any classroom. http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/shorttitle/opie.html ( )
  bspentecost | Apr 4, 2010 |
My mum had this book when I wee, and I remember being fascinated by all the little drawings throughout. I've got that copy now, coverless and dog-eared, but I still love it. It's full of nursery rhymes and poems, both well-known and unfamiliar, and a great wee riddle game. ( )
  jenthepen | Dec 12, 2009 |
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Iona Opieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Opie, Petermain authorall editionsconfirmed
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A hundred years have passed since the first publication of The Nursery Rhymes of England, 'collected principally from oral tradition' by James Orchard Halliwell. (Preface)
In Britain and America, and wherever the English word is spoken, the children become joyful and wise listening to the same traditional verses. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0198600887, Hardcover)

Here is a brand new edition of the classic anthology of nursery rhymes--over 500 rhymes, songs, nonsense jingles, and lullabies traditionally handed down to young children. Included are all of your favorites, ranging from "Yankee Doodle Came to Town" and "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" to "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep," Jack and Jill" and "Old Mother Hubbard." And complementing the rhymes are nearly a hundred illustrations, including reproductions of early art found in ballad sheets and music books, which highlight the development of children's illustrations over the last two centuries.
With each piece, Iona and Peter Opie introduced a wealth of information, noting the earliest known publications of the rhyme, describing how it originated, illustrating changes in wording over time, and indicating variations and parallels in other languages. Moreover, in the general introduction, the Opies discuss the different types of rhyme and the earliest published collections, and they address such questions as who was Mother Goose and whether or not individual rhymes originally portrayed real people. For this second edition, the notes have been updated and extended in light of recent scholarship, providing an unrivaled wealth of literary and bibliographic information.
The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes is now more than ever an indispensable reference source for scholars and book collectors as well as a volume to be treasured by parents and children alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Over five hundred traditional nursery rhymes, accompanied by illustrations and detailed notes about each rhyme.

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