Heavy Words Lightly Thrown NPR coverage of Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind The Rhyme by Chris Roberts. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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Heavy Words Lightly Thrown

The Reason Behind The Rhyme

by Chris Roberts

Hardcover, 202 pages, Penguin Group USA, List Price: $20 |

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Heavy Words Lightly Thrown
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The Reason Behind The Rhyme
Author
Chris Roberts

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Book Summary

Nursery rhymes are rarely as innocent as they seem—there is a wealth of concealed meaning in our familiar childhood verse. More than a century after Queen Victoria decided that children were better off without the full story, London librarian Roberts brings the truth to light. He traces the origins of the subtle phrases and antiquated references, revealing religious hatred, political subversion, and sexual innuendo. A history lesson that makes astonishing connections to contemporary popular culture, this book is for Anglophiles, parents, history buffs, and anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of rhymes. The book features a glossary of slang and historical terms, and silhouettes of Mother Goose characters to accompany the rhymes.—From publisher description.A history of the origins and meanings of nursery rhymes reveals the popular sport behind "Jack Be Nimble" and Humpty Dumpty's identity as a cannon mounted on the walls of a Colchester church.

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NPR stories about Heavy Words Lightly Thrown

Reason Behind the Rhyme: 'Little Jack Horner'

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Reason Behind the Rhyme: Rub-a-Dub-Dub

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