Zoe’s new favorite book is her Christmas book from Papa John, My Very First Mother Goose. She loves the Rosemary Wells illustrations (although I find some of them a little creepy), but I think what she loves most are the rhymes themselves, especially the ones we can sing.
There are the familiar ones (Baa Baa Black Sheep), the ones that I sing based on their use in toddler TV (the tune we use for Hey Diddle Diddle was inspired by the Wonder Pets), and the ones I sing-chant (most of them, really). And then there are the ones that I know must be songs, but I don’t know how they go.
First in that category is this one, one of my favorites in the book:
The wind, the wind, the wind blows high,
the rain comes scattering down the sky.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
she is the girl of the golden city.
She goes a-courting, one, two, three,
please and tell me who is she.
I don’t remember this one from my childhood, but I have fallen in love with it this week. It turns out it’s an English and Irish folk song, “I’ll Tell Me Ma”, and the girl is variously the girl in the golden city, the belle of Belfast City, or the belle of London City. Check out the Gaelic Storm version of the song here. Or, if you prefer, a Disney montage version. (You’re welcome.) Okay, and if you really want more, revel in the PBS schmaltziness of the Celtic Tenors version. (Pro Tip: If you knew there were not just Irish Tenors, but Celtic Tenors, you are one up on me.)
I am delighted to combine two of my favorite activities, reading and singing. Zoe is a fan, too. Yesterday was a very windy day in Minnesota, so we sang “Five Little Pumpkins”, which we know both from Raffi and from a board book we have. “Let’s do another one!” Zoe said when we were done. “Let’s sing another book!”
What are your favorite nursery rhymes or childhood songs? Or, which ones do you find a little bit creepy as an adult?