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The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford Dictionary of Nusery Rhymes) Hardcover – 30 Oct 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2Rev Ed edition (30 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198600887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198600886
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 4.8 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Iona Opie is a leading authority on children's lore and literature. With her late husband, Peter, she wrote the pioneering study of children's culture, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, followed by its companions Children's Games in Street and Playground and The Singing Game. The Opies have also edited The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, and The Classic Fairy Tales.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book originally for my brother who was interested in the origin of nursery rhymes, but ended up buying another copy for myself! Well set out, clear type, and an explanation for every nursery rhyme you are ever likely to hear. Very interesting and informative - for all ages.
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Format: Hardcover
I had this book as a child and absolutely adored it. Nursery rhyme books with pretty pictures are two a penny, but this is something else. In here, as well as the standard classics are hundreds of lesser known poems to keep any young child amused and occupied for hours on end. I had my copy stolen from me and was over the moon when I found this edition - not only does it contain many rhymes that brought back childhood memories, it is a vital piece in keeping them alive where they might otherwise be lost, forgotten or rewritten in the name of Political Correctness. I can't wait for my children to be old enough to discover it for themselves.
If you want a flimsy collection of illustrations, buy something else. If, like me, you delight in traditional children's rhyme, your collection won't be complete without this.
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By A Customer on 4 April 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was very informative and was really interesting when describing where all the nursery rhymes originated and how some got changed over time . well worth the money and to those who enjoy poetry a must buy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book which I first read as a library copy when in hospital in 1963 and I have been meaning to get a copy for myself ever since. Now I have at last got one and all I can say is that the same curiosity that intrigued me over 50 years ago still holds me fascinated to-day. A work of great scholarship. I am so glad someone undertook this. Thank you Peter and Iona Opie; what you have saved and interpreted for posterity is something truly valuable.
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By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Covering all kinds of rhymes, songs & riddles from the famous to more obscure ones, the Opies give history of each, with b/w plates. Amazing to see text of 'I have 4 sisters' written in early 14th century. Also to learn derivation of poems we think of as intrinsically English; thus 'as I was going to St. Ives' comes from a Latin version of 1200, where 7 men were travelling to Rome, each with 7 donkeys with 7 sacks... Or to read that 'ladybird, ladybird, fly away home' has almost identical versions in France, Germany & Scandinavia and is thought to date from ancient pagan worship. Really unputdownable!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a literary book for adults. Huge fun, full of the strange, the surreal and the outlandish. Many of these rhymes originated a long way from the nursery though; we have snippets of folk ballads, half mis-rembered medieval verses, political jingles. Iona and Peter Opie, the acknowledged experts in the field, trace the origins and fortunes of these strange verses and each is fully footnoted and referenced.

There is much here to enchant the grown-up. But if you want nursery rhymes to sing to your children, other slimmer books will do the job more easily; here you'll be hard put to sort the classics from those which, to modern ears, are bizarre or even horrid. Political correctness has no place in this earthy world. Anyone fed up with the bland, the carefully edited and the harmless will relish it hugely. Drawings and illustrations from early chap-books enliven the text.

There are 550 rhymes in all, spread out over 443 pages not counting the index. The listing attempts to be alphabetical, although it has its idiosyncracies; best just to browse, and enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book..it took me back to my childhood and also reminded me singing so many of them to our children.The first line of so many of them triggered off the rest of the rhyme to me.

I just dipped into it for a short while..three hours later I was still dipping!!

Pat
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Format: Hardcover
Any parent who likes to tell old fashioned nursery rhymes to their small children will enjoy reading about the background and origins of some of our most familiar ditties: Humpty dumpty was NOT and egg - actually he was a gun...!

Buy this book to find out lots of odd surprises about facts, fiction and figures.
I was fascinated to be able delve into our 'horrible history' of kings,commoners, and fairy stories.
The Opie's are careful and competent researchers. It is a great book.
Jeannette Ellwood (Tales out of School)
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