Many chapbooks were illustrated with woodcuts, as the three featured here are. They probably date from the late 18th or early 19th century, before the words in many of the rhymes were cleaned up or "improved" for young audiences.
The two smallest books in the National Library
In The Life of Jack Spratt , he and his wife Joan are shown amorously embracing in a way some might not find appropriate for children today. Differences between older and modern versions of the rhymes are noticeable in volumes printed in the late 19th century, as well.
In the version of "Little Miss Muffet" printed in Mother Goose in , the rhyme's most famous line, "Along came a spider," is given instead as "There came a great spider. Further, the illustration of Humpty Dumpty portrays the titular character as a boy rather than an anthropomorphic egg.
Old King Cole and Friends by Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd (Paperback, ) for sale online | eBay
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A Short Analysis of the ‘Old King Cole’ Nursery Rhyme
Search Search Search Browse menu. Sign in. Recent updates. Every fiddler, he had a fiddle, And a very find fiddle had he; Twee tweedle dee, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers. The Reading clothier named Cole-brook became proverbial in the seventeenth century after he appeared in a bestselling book, The pleasant Historie of Thomas of Reading; or, The Sixe worthie Yeomen of the West , in around The author of this article, Dr Oliver Tearle, is a literary critic and lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Image: via Wikimedia Commons.