Trafford Publishing presents: Nursery Rhymes – Yesterday and Today

Nursery Rhymes for an Improvable World by Trafford Publishing author Graham Dukes

Nursery Rhymes for an Improvable World by Trafford Publishing author Graham Dukes

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

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