Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Humpty Dumpty and Other Mother Goose Songs

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Here is another wonderful little children’s book. It is Humpty Dumpty and Other Mother Goose Songs, compiled, illustrated and arranged by H. A. (Hans Augusto) Rey, who later became famous as the co-creator of Curious George, along with his wife, Margret.

This little spiral bound volume was published in 1943, but has recently been re-released. (While the 1995 edition is nice, it does not have the nostalgia of the original first edition.) The front cover has a humorous image of Humpty Dumpty seated atop red brick wall, smiling and waving his feathered hat to the high hatted soldiers mounted on white horses below. Interestingly, the back cover depicts a rear view of Humpty atop that wall with a ladder leaning against it. I had always wondered how Humpty got up there. As Paul Harvey used to say: Now you know the rest of the story! All quite colorful!
What makes this book cool, is that the pages to left have words and music, while pages to right have colorful illustrations also with the words and music, but in a unique format. The clefs are drawn from eggs and spoons, books and belts, and the notes are eggs, children, mice, birds and spiders! Mother Goose never sounded (or looked) so good.
This copy that I have, has an interesting side note. The young owner wrote down her list of chores for each day of the week. It's a bit faint to read, as it was written in pencil. She wrote: make the bed - morning / wash - Mon / Iron - Tues / mend clothes - Wed / Sweep the floor - Thurs / Scrub the floor - Fri / Bath - Sat / Church - Sun.
Songs include: Humpty Dumpty; Round the Mulberry Bush; Mary had a Little Lamb; Pat-a-Cake; Oh Where, Oh Where has My Little Dog Gone; Little Miss Muffet; Sing a Song of Six Pence; Hey, Diddle Diddle; Three Blind Mice; and Ding Dong Bell (Pussy’s in the Well).

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