Fabulous Finds from the Library: Mother Goose

Do you remember the books you read as a child? I remember sitting in my Memaw’s house pulling all her old books off the shelf and flipping through the pages, the scent of the old crumbly paper wafting over me, the shape of the small, ancient books scattered around me.  I remember gazing at pictures of little boys in coveralls and little girls in pinafores painted in watercolors.  I even remember the special cramped space by her bookshelf in the dining room where I sat.  Oddly I don’t remember any of the books themselves.  Actually, that’s not true.  I remember one:  a collection of old Mother Goose rhymes.

I guess Mother Goose has a way of making an impression, at least for me.  In fact, a book of Mother Goose rhymes was one of the first books I bought as we were awaiting the arrival of our firstborn.  I have vivid memories of a very pregnant me sitting in the rocking chair in the baby room and reading aloud and singing rhymes to the little child growing inside of me.  And when our little guy came into the world, we continued our ritual.  It must have made an impression on him because he still pulls the book off the shelf and flips through the pages on his own or reading to his little brother.

Mother Goose rhymes are special.  We are drawn to them.  They are musical, rhythmic, short, easily repeated, and they are perfect for playing games and singing songs with babies.  In fact, in the Village classes our first week (for ages 0-18 months),  I mentioned that research shows the more you expose your baby to nursery rhymes and songs, the stronger those emerging language-learning skills will be. That’s why the first 8-weeks of our Village class (for babies and young toddlers) this semester centers on Mother Goose-like stories and rhymes.

But this evening, as I was reading about the benefits of sharing nursery rhymes with young children, I discovered many long-term skills aid not only infants and young toddlers, but also preschoolers and even school-aged kids. Nursery rhymes help build auditory memory, aid in concept development, facilitate phonemic awareness, encourage the imagination, and boost pre-literacy skills. And because of their inherently playful nature, they generally illicit strong emotions with children and parents adding to the power and depth of the learning they impart.

So, take some time to enjoy a few nursery rhymes whether sung, spoken, bounced, or shared as a fingerplay. Here are some favorite books to provide a little inspiration:

1. Dorling Kindersley book of nursery rhymes (2000) by Debi Gliori

2. Pio peep!: traditional Spanish nursery rhymes (2003) by Alma Flor Ada

3. The Lucy Cousins book of nursery rhymes (1999) by Lucy Cousins (of Maisy the mouse fame)

4. Over in the meadow: an old nursery counting rhyme (1986) by Paul Galdone

5. Over the candlestick: classic nursery rhymes and the real stories behind them (2002) by Michael Montgomery

6. Hector Protector and As I went over the water: two nursery rhymes with pictures (1993) by Maurice Sendak

7. The Helen Oxenbury Nursery Collection (2004) by Helen Oxenbury

8. Mary had a little lamb (1990) by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

9. Froggie went a-courting (2000) by Marjorie Priceman

10. Humpty Dumpty egg-splodes (2001) by Kevin O’Malley

11. Baa baa black sheep (2001) by Iza Trapani

12. Over the hills & far away (2004) by Chris Conover

13. Mother Goose (1999) by Sylvia Long

14. Mother Goose Remembers (2000) by Clare Beaton

15. And my personal favoriteMy Very First Mother Goose (1996) by Rosemary Wells and Iona Opie

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