Nursery Rhymes for Children – Riverside Mother Goose

Are you looking for rhymes for children, but you are unsure whether the explicit lyrics of Tupac and Biggy are appropriate for kids? Well although songs about gang war and drug use may be frowned upon by some of those with delicate sensibilities, have you considered what more socially accepted nursery rhymes are actually about?

London Bridge is falling down

London Bridge did not fall, it was pushed. The most popular theory about this nursery rhyme is that it refers to a Viking attack on London. Allegedly in 1014, the Vikings tied ropes to London Bridge and their boats so they could collapse the bridge and drown the city’s defenders who were on it. So before you teach your child this little poem, remember it is about mass murder.

Pop goes the weasel

A nonsensical song about animals chasing each other? Nope, this is actually a rhyme about poverty and pawning your belongings. Popping the weasel is slang for pawning your coat. This is a poem about a man so poor he must pawn his own coat for food and drink.

Mary, Mary quite contrary

The Mary in question in this rhyme is Mary Tudor, the Queen of England from 1553 to 1558. This was the time of the Reformation and Mary was a Catholic. As a Catholic, she did not think much of people reforming. The rhyme is about Mary’s methods of dissuading people from becoming Protestant, namely torture, and execution.

The nursery rhymes for children that society deems acceptable are clearly anything but. Clearly, religious persecution and Viking attacks are not aged appropriate and if they are  Tupac’s ‘Changes’ really beyond the pale. At least those rhymes are about the current day plight of urban minorities and therefore far more relevant for today’s children.