Nursery rhymes-Dead or Alive?
As an author of children books I am interested in where literary material for children is heading. This led me to thinking about nursery rhymes as in my first book ‘Star-keeper’s Quest’, I have written a Time Rhyme. This Time Rhyme was introduced in a playful way to reinforce magic in the child’s mind so that they can playfully explore with their imagination, the themes of time and time travel. The specific purpose in my story was to allow the child to speed up or slow down time in their magical garden. Perhaps its inclusion came from an old fashioned love of nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes reflected not only the culture but the period of time they were written in. But consistent to all, was a rhythm or beat, colourful words, playfully interwoven into a micro story, which could be happily repeated without boredom. No child could resist them. They could be dark or light, silly or serious and sometimes contain hidden messages. Incy Wincy Spider, Hickory Dickory Dock and Three Blind Mice are to name a few. They could be musical nonsense with no reason as to why they were conceived, like ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’. In Australia a popular Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) children’s preschool program called ‘Play School’ consistently featured many of these. And they probably still do as Play School celebrated 50 years of broadcasting in Australia in 2016 and earlier in 2006 was admitted to the Logies Hall of Fame.
Children of previous generations (seemingly long gone) often accompanied their games with rhyming songs. Games including clapping games, elastics, skipping, ding-bats and the like, couldn’t be playfully enjoyed without them. Perhaps even the famous Harry Potter book series that include incantations could be loosely seen as modern day nursery rhymes with its colourful words delivered for a darker purposes.
The challenge is on now in search of modern day ‘nursery rhymes.’ Are they out there? Are parents inventing their own little ditties, happy to delight their own little ones? Have the old nursery rhymes lost their relevance in the current modern context and reached their use by date. If you are like me and never want to see them go or remain unseen on the shelf in a dusty Nursery Rhyme book, them keep alive by singing them to your children, grandchildren or children in your care. In celebration of this important topic I have written a modern one for you all to enjoy.
What does it matter
Face book can be really mean
Playing with friends
You don’t have to pretend
And don’t have to
Stare at a screen.
By Meredith Harvey (I still have to write the music, TBA when done. Perhaps I will write the Guardian Angel Nursery Rhyme Book, there’s an idea)