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Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes [Paperback]

Albert Jack
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010

In Pop Goes the Weasel, Albert Jack explores the strange and fascinating histories behind the nursery rhymes we thought we knew, showing that their real meanings are far from innocent.

Who were Mary Quite Contrary and Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? And if Ring a Ring a Roses isn't about catching the plague, then what is it really about? This ingenious book delves into the hidden meanings of the nursery rhymes and songs we all know so well and discovers all kinds of strange tales ranging from Viking raids to firewalking and from political rebellion to slaves being smuggled to freedom.

From the grim true story behind 'Oranges and Lemons' to the deadly secrets of Mary Quite Contrary's garden, and from how Lucy Locket lost more than her pocket to why Humpty Dumpty wasn't egg-shaped at all, Pop Goes the Weasel is a compendium of surprising stories you won't be able to resist passing on to everyone you know.

'An irresistible treasure-trove'
   Daily Mirror

'Most of us can still recite the words to nursery rhymes we learned as children, but how many know the real meanings behind our most familiar verses? Albert Jack reveals hidden histories of cannons, courtesans and vengeful queens'
   Guardian

'The history behind nursery rhymes is not only highly specific but often splendidly grim'
   The Times

Albert Jack has become something of a publishing phenomenon, clocking up hundreds of thousands of sales with his series of bestselling adventures tracing the fantastic stories behind everyday phrases (Red Herrings and White Elephants), the world's great mysteries (Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs) and nursery rhymes (Pop Goes the Weasel).


Frequently Bought Together

Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes + Red Herrings and White Elephants + Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day
Price For All Three: 18.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030982
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Albert Jack is a writer and historian. His first book Red Herrings and White Elephants explored the origins of well-known idioms and phrases and became an international best-seller in 2004. It was serialized in the Sunday Times and remained on their best-seller list for sixteen straight months. He followed this up with a series of other books including Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Caesar did for my Salad.

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world's great stories, Albert has become an expert at explaining the unexplained, enriching millions of dinner table conversations and ending bar room quarrels the world over. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio programs worldwide. Albert lives somewhere between Guildford in England and Cape Town in South Africa.

OTHER BOOKS BY ALBERT JACK

RED HERRINGS AND WHITE ELEPHANTS
SHAGGY DOGS AND BLACK SHEEP
PHANTOM HITCHHIKERS
LOCH NESS MONSTERS AND OTHER MYSTERIES SOLVED
POP GOES THE WEASEL
THE OLD DOG AND DUCK
WHAT CAESAR DID FOR MY SALAD
BLACK SHEEP & LAME DUCKS
IT'S A WONDERFUL WORD
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 1
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 2
THE JAM: SOUNDS FROM THE STREET
SHED DEBT & START LIVING LIFE
THE QUEEN OF HEARTS
WANT TO BE A WRITER?
LAST MAN IN LONDON

albertjack.com albertjackchat (facebook and twitter)

Product Description

Review

An irresistible treasure-trove ... The way these gossipy little rhymes give us a snapshot of everyday life in centuries gone by is enchanting. You'll never look at nursery rhymes again in the same way (Daily Mirror)

The history behind nursery rhymes is not only highly specific but often splendidly grim. This book is a reminder of the riches below the surface: characters, jokes, events and stories (The Times)

Review

'The history behind nursery rhymes is not only highly specific but often splendidly grim. This book is a reminder of the riches below the surface: characters, jokes, events and stories'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for interest and entertainment 4 Feb 2011
By PC
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book for myself , as when I sing Nursery Rhymes and they are scary and politically incorrect, I felt the need to know why they were written. This book gives the answer to some of the content of the verses, giving the rational and some history behind the nursery rhymes.

It is written in an easy style and is accessible to all. The sort of book which is easy to pick up and put down as it has short chapters. It is the sort of book, whose information you feel the need to share or read aloud.

What is still a mystery is why the rhymes have lasted in some cases for two or three centuries.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Origins of Nursery Rhymes 16 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover
Although the book has been quite well researched it didnt quite work for me. I dont like riddles presented to me with out an easily findable answer!(I got there in the end!) I wasnt too happy with the jocular style which came over to me as someone trying to be funny and not quite getting there. For all that, the information in this book is fascinating and it covers not only nursery ryhmes but well known songs and phrases which we happily teach our children without knowing much about their origins.
I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the background of the very familiar nursery rhymes found in Mother Goose without really thinking too much about what they mean. After all did you know 'Humpty Dumpty was not an egg but a cannon defending a town during our Civil War?
The book arrived perfectly wrapped and in pristine condition
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating trip down memory lane 13 Oct 2010
By Reader, I Read It VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Pop Goes the Weasel is a new release from Albert Jack, author of international bestselling White Elephants and Red Herrings. The book provides a fascinating insight into the meaning behind our much loved and most treasured nursery rhymes.

Astonishingly, the majority of nursery rhymes were inspired by political events. Royalty and conflicts also feature heavily as well as more sinister subjects like condemned prisoners and Prostitution. You have to admit, this is something you don't necessarily consider when teaching these rhymes to children. The author also explores the fascinating historical and cultural background which helps to explain why these rhymes were so important and influential.

Pop Goes the Weasel also provides a trip down memory lane alowing you to rediscover the nursery rhymes you may have forgotten. It is also interesting reading some of the rhymes which are shorter versions of longer originals which have been edited down over time.

Jack's passion and humour comes across in his writing making it a joy to read. Full of illustrations, interesting facts and the rhymes copied out in full at the start of each chapter, the book is great to dip in and out of, however, you may find you become so addicted to finding out the next meaning, you will be unable to put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising look at nursery rhymes 4 Feb 2009
By Hobbit
Format:Hardcover
This is a fascinating book giving the meanings of nursery rhymes. The majority of all those lovely rhymes we learnt as children do in fact have a much darker side. It's very interesting but does shatter all the chhildhood dreams. Would you have thought that Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon or that Ring a Ring a Roses is acredited to the Great Plague? I have purchased several copies as presents for adults.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 22 Sep 2008
Format:Hardcover
Enjoyed this book from start to end. The type of book to have by your bedside at night. Will pass to my children when slightly older....The author introduced me in to the wonderful world of nursery rhymes.
When I purchased this book, Amazon recomended buying "Now Then Lad"!! This also is a fantastic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop Goes the Weasel 19 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Informative, quick explanation of some of the most common nursery rhymes. Easy read and good fun. Well presented light reading with information that you can use on all sorts of occasions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight 8 April 2011
Format:Paperback
This book offers a fascinating insight into the background of popular nursery rhymes. Not a book to be read in one sitting but an excellent reference
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book! I am Russian, but from my early childhood I learnt English, and certainly nursery rhymes, songs,riddles were an essential part of the study. A lot of enjoyment too. I suspected that there is a lot more to each rhyme than just verses for children. This is a wonderful book for a linguist and all those who are interested in the language. WOuld very much like to thank the author for the style of writing - easy to read and remember, non-categoric, entertaining, with love to history, tradition and the world of childhood. Thank you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Just google!
You may as well just google each nursery rhyme, as that is what the author seems to have done and then he presents various theories. Read more
Published 16 days ago by L. E. Roach
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a truly amazing book.
This is a truly amazing book...a fascinating trip through history! Anyone who wants to learn more about the history of nursery rhymes will love this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Katharine
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop Goes the Weasel
My husband quite enjoyed reading this book as he likes to learn where our history came about. I also bought one for a neighbour's daughter who likes history as well.
Published 2 months ago by Demelza from cornwall.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
This is an interesting read about children's nursery rhymes, not as well written as some others but still worth a read
Published 2 months ago by Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book...JUST what I was looking for!
I can recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a well-researched, highly well-written and complete account of the history and story behind nursery rhymes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Reading
The author of this book originated from my birthplace Cape Town which immediately made this book more interesting to read than the other two.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Leonie E Gater
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant, Entertaining and Educating Read.
Pop goes the Weasel by Albert Jack is a brilliant book.

Other reviewers will use well worn phrases like 'Treasure Chest' of knowledge, 'treasure trove' and the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Glenn Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
I have always been interested in the origins of the simple Nursery Rhymes which nearly all, have much darker meanings behind them. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Paul Hagg
3.0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favourite aircraft and this Oxford model is just...
This is one of my favourite aircraft and this Oxford model is just lovely. It's very well painted and finished with really nice details including rockets on the wings 2 bombs under... Read more
Published 15 months ago by ChrisTiffa
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Just what I was looking for
Brilliant read and very entertaining too
Would recommend this book to anyone looking to find out about behind the rhymes
Published 15 months ago by Mrs S E Clarke
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