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The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes Hardcover – November 23, 1951

ISBN-13: 978-0198691112 ISBN-10: 0198691114 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (November 23, 1951)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198691114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198691112
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,024,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author


Iona Opie is a leading authority on children's lore and literature. With her late husband, Peter Opie, she wrote the pioneering study of children's culture, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. The Opies have also edited The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, and The Classic Fairy Tales.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the seminal publication on nursery rhymes, IMO. The Opies have been collecting information about nursery rhymes for more than 50 years. The second edition of their OD of NR was published last year (1997) and is greatly updated on the first. It includes indepth analysis of over 550 nursery rhymes. I've been unable to find a NS of my knowledge that isn't included in there.
It makes a great present for a new-born, or his/her parents more like!
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31 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the second edition, published in 1997, of the original Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, also by Iona and Peter Opie, which appeared in 1951. The Preface to the Second Edition explains that the authors gathered many new references over the intervening four decades, and thanks several correspondents for still further additions and corrections. There is, consequently, much more information in the apparatus of the newer edition. However, the revisions are not thorough enough; I still get the sense that I am reading a book put together in the years after World War II.
For one thing, the Introduction appears to have been completely untouched; there are no references to any publication after 1951 (with the exception of references to two recent compilations by the Opies), and most date from the 1940's (for example, the reference on p. 3 to "two admirable Presidential Addresses by Lord Raglan to the Folk-Lore Society, 20 Mar. 1946, and 5 Mar. 1947"). Moreover, the discussion evinces a strange English elitism that may have seemed conventional six decades ago, but has not worn well with time. For example, the Opies seem to consider it a great fillip to the status of nursery rhymes that some of them can be shown to have been written by respected members of the English upper class; but we would consider these figures second or third-rate authors today (for example, Sir Charles Sedley). Also, there is too much blue-blooded in-group banter; for example, under "Bo Peep," one finds this assertion: "it is on record that in his early days Irving played the part of the wolf in Little Bo-Peep at Edinburgh." OK, who is Irving? If you want your book to be read by the generations that succeed you, you must not make allusions that are comprehensible only to your peers and coevals.
Finally, the book is unnecessarily difficult to use. I STILL cannot find "Pop Goes the Weasel" in here; either I am an idiot or the indices are inadequate. I think the latter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ts Fitzgerald on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I received a book "The Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes". It is a great book full of insights to the origins of all the popular and not so well known rhymes. The package arrived in Australia about 3 weeks before the expected delivery date. Well done Amazon.
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By sally tarbox on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Covering all kinds of rhymes, songs and riddles from the familiar to more obscure ones, the Opies give the history of each with b/w illustrations. Amazing to see the text of 'I have four sisters' written in the early 14th century. Also to learn the 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 traveling 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 and Scandinavia and is thought to date from ancient pagan worship. Really unputdownable
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By Brian Doig on May 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Opie's have done it again! Another fascinating tour of the world of English Nursery rhymes.
Anyone interested in the development or history of these rhymes needs this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scholarly research is well documented. This was a "used"copy but was in mint condition. Excellent. I am so pleased with this purchase!
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By The Guy Wearing Boots on December 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was bought as a gift for a friend. The history of "nursery rhymes" is a very long one and very interesting. The book is used but arrived in excellent condition and I would buy from this supplier again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted to be able to read some of the older Nursery Rhymes to my Grand Children. I had forgotten some of these myself so it's a great read for me as well.
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