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Pat Swenson, CSUN - Children's Literature - Nursery Rhyme, Nonsense & Poetry
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

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Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

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Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

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Children's Literature - Nursery Rhyme, Nonsense & Poetry



As an overview for our analysis of Nursery Rhymes, Nonsense and Poetry, please read the Riverside introduction to the sections listed below. No written response is required for this part of the assignment.

Children's Poetry: A Chorus of Voices -- pgs. 13-20

Voices of Nonsense -- pgs. 64-68

Voices of Childhood -- pgs. 88-95


Please read the following nursery rhymes, lores, riddles, lullabies/folk songs, and nonsense. Select one item from each category for written analysis. In addition, select and analyze two poems from our children's poetry section (choose from narrative, lyric, nature, imagination, and reflection). You will be analyzing a total of 7 items: 5 from the list below and 2 from the poetry section (choose from the poems on pages 96-161).

Please type a 5 to 6 sentence analysis/explanation for each piece. Most of your ideas should focus on how you would teach the material to children in an elementary school classroom, but also remember to include your brief analysis on meaning/theme.

As you analyze the material, keep in mind what our Riverside text book states: "that young children delight in repetition, rhythm, and rhyme - that nursery rhymes bind child to adult; street and game rhymes bind child to child from playground to schoolyard in the poetry of play. Rhyme also reminds children of times long ago, evokes humor and imagination, shows the bounce of words/language, is used to rock children to sleep or to engage them in play, touches children's natural love of play with language, makes them laugh because it appeals to their desire to invent language."

Nursery Rhymes (choose one for written analysis)

"Rain, rain, go away," "To market, to market," "Little Miss Muffet," "Humpty Dumpty," "Hey, diddle, diddle," "Jack and Jill," "This little piggy," "Pat-a-cake," "Little Bo-peep"

Street & Game Lore (choose one for written analysis)

"Step on a crack," "1, 2, buckle my shoe," "London Bridge," "One potato"

Riddles (choose one for written analysis)

"How much wood," "Peter Piper"

Lullabies & Folk Songs (choose one for written analysis)

"Hush-a-bye baby," "Skip to my Lou," "Hush, little baby…"

Nonsense (choose one for written analysis)

Lobel: "There Was a Sad Pig with a Tail"

Ogden Nash: "The Guppy" and "The Ostrich"

Prelutsky: "Toucans Two"

Burgess: "The Purple Cow"