Karen Dolby has herein given us a selection of nursery rhymes, most you will know although not necessarily all of the verses, and some you may never have heard of before. Some of these pieces are quite well documented, we know when they first appeared,etc. Others however we know little about, as rhymes have been altered over the years, and also music has been added, which comes from a different country.
This makes an interesting read as the author tries to delve behind the rhymes, trying to see if it is possible to locate the origins of certain rhymes. In some cases you are given a few possible meanings for some of these rhymes, and also if they are known in other countries. Some of the supposed origins of a few of these rhymes are also debunked, as it is known that they came at a much later date.
This isn't a definitive study of nursery rhymes by any means, and to be honest no such book could ever be produced, as a lot would be invention. This has some lovely little illustrations throughout the text, has a list of contents, a bibliography, as well as an index of first lines, making it relatively easy to find what you are looking for. Admittedly this is more of a niche product, but it does make for some very interesting reading.