Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes

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Allen Lane, 2008 - Nursery rhymes - 292 pages
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In Pop Goes the Weasel, Albert Jack explores the strange and fascinating histories behind the nursery rhymes we thought we knew, showing that their real meanings are far from innocent. Who were Mary Quite Contrary and Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? And if Ring a Ring a Roses isn't about catching the plague, then what is it really about? This ingenious book delves into the hidden meanings of the nursery rhymes and songs we all know so well and discovers all kinds of strange tales ranging from Viking raids to firewalking and from political rebellion to slaves being smuggled to freedom. From the grim true story behind 'Oranges and Lemons' to the deadly secrets of Mary Quite Contrary's garden, and from how Lucy Locket lost more than her pocket to why Humpty Dumpty wasn't egg-shaped at all, Pop Goes the Weasel is a compendium of surprising stories you won't be able to resist passing on to everyone you know. 'An irresistible treasure-trove'
Daily Mirror 'Most of us can still recite the words to nursery rhymes we learned as children, but how many know the real meanings behind our most familiar verses? Albert Jack reveals hidden histories of cannons, courtesans and vengeful queens'
Guardian 'The history behind nursery rhymes is not only highly specific but often splendidly grim'
The Times Albert Jack has become something of a publishing phenomenon, clocking up hundreds of thousands of sales with his series of bestselling adventures tracing the fantastic stories behind everyday phrases (Red Herrings and White Elephants), the world's great mysteries (Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs) and nursery rhymes (Pop Goes the Weasel).

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - waltzmn - LibraryThing

Get ready for a wild ride. Nursery rhymes often mean more than we realize, and there is an honorable tradition of collecting them and trying to figure out what they mean. Some of these books ... Read full review

Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Jack (Red Herrings and White Elephants: The Origins of the Phrases We Use Every Day) offers possible origins of a slew of nursery rhymes (organized alphabetically by the common name of the rhyme ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

When not engaged in research, Albert Jack lives somewhere between Guildford and Cape Town, where he divides his time between fast living and slow horses, neat vodka and untidy pubs.

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