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Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes Paperback – 7 Oct 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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£9.98 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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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: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By Glenn Cook HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
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 like.
In this case there are spot on.

Like quite a few people I believed I knew the origin of certain Nursery Rhymes like 'The Grand Old Duke of York' and 'Ring A Ring of Roses' and indeed the assistant at the book store quoted me the latter.
But others such as 'Jack and Jill' and 'Little Boy Blue' I did not.

If you are like me and love those books that educate and entertain then this is the book for you.
It is written in short chapters and is ideal to pick up from time to time and dip in.
You can read it from start to finish or just dip in.
This is a perfect book for the toilet.

I found it fascinating to read the possible origins of nursery rhymes- lets face it they have lasted 100s of years and are part of our heritage.

Praise should also be given for R Green's cover design.
Based on Hogarth's print 'Beer Street' and tinted with care this makes the book look really distintive and smart.
The eye is the first thing to attracted to a book and Green has really done the author, Albert Jack, a big service.

This is a light entertaining and Educational book and that is no mean achievement.

Albert Jack has written a really great book.
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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This is one of two rival British publications about the origins of nursery rhymes that appeared in 2008. I bought this one first, then realized that it would make sense to buy the other, Hey diddle diddle, and compare them. The immediate difference is in the price, this one being the more expensive but covering many more rhymes and doing so in more detail. However, there are some things in Hey diddle diddle that the author of this book missed out.

In this book, the author sometimes failed to establish clearly the origins of some of them, offering conflicting theories and suggesting the one that is likeliest to be true. However, he has no doubt that Humpty Dumpty was originally a cannon that sat in a church tower during the English Civil War. The cannon was very effective at protecting the royalist stronghold of Colchester until one day when the republicans managed to bring down the entire church tower. So Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again. The question of the origin of the name is not answered, nor even asked in this book, but the author explains why Humpty Dumpty is now portrayed as an egg; this was the way he was portrayed in Alice through the looking glass, and the image has stuck. The rival publication Hey diddle diddle suggests that Humpty Dumpty was originally a name given to an obese person.

Elsewhere in the book, the author has unearthed plenty of old rhymes and attempts to explain their origins. The text for each rhyme is given in full, which is just as well because I don't recognize a lot of them and even those that I do recognize contain verses that I don`t remember.
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