At the end of the day, sometimes we need a little more than the nursery rhymes we once knew. Trafford Publishing author Graham Dukes strives for people to see the lighter side of life as he “re-jigs” some classic nursery rhymes with a touch of humour. Although we probably shouldn’t be calling them “nursery” rhymes anymore… maybe “21st Century” rhymes or “cheeky” rhymes would be a little more fitting…
Are today’s children still taught the old Nursery Rhymes? With competition from ever more sophisticated smartphones one might not think so, yet the answer is a resounding “Yes”!
In any popular bookstore the staff will tell you that all the parents they encounter keep the stock moving; even the ancient “Mother Goose Rhymes”, which first saw the light in 1784, is still being reprinted. And not only for the kids; nostalgic adults who learned the rhymes before they even started school often pick up new and second-hand copies for themselves.
Many of the old rhymes (“the cow jumped over the moon”) are pure fantasy; others are said to reflect historic happenings – “Rockabye baby on the treetop” is said to be a sarcastic reminder that King Charles I once hid in a tree to escape the Protestant militia that was searching for him. New nursery rhymes just don’t seem to take off in the same way.
What is proving very popular – this time with adults – is the arrival of parodies of the old rhymes, bringing them up to date, with some sly 21st century humour built-in. Jack and Jill Went up the Hill – but what were they really doing up there? Why was the Queen of Hearts so mad at the King, who took a liking to tarts? Mary had a little lamb – she fed the beast on strawberry jam – and what was the result? Plenty more like these – and charmingly illustrated in colour by Liisa Helander.
Nursery Rhymes for an Improvable World by Graham Dukes