Gladys Hunt on Nursery Rhymes

Editor’s Note: Our Honey for a Child’s Heart Read-along readers are thinking about Chapter 15: “First Books for Readers.” Beginning readers should be primed with a rhyme, and an enthusiastic grownup interpreter!

The Joy of Nursery Rhymes

Originally published on the Tumblon website, January 16, 2009

Want a delightful book for a very young child? Get Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Mem Fox , who lives in Australia, has done some wonderfully creative books for children, and here she is teamed up with illustrator Helen Oxenbury who lives in England. Along with charming pictures of children from all over the world, marveling at their ten little fingers and ten little toes, we read:

            But the next baby born was truly divine,

            A sweet little child who was mine, all mine,

            And this little baby, as everyone knows

            Has ten little fingers and ten little toes,

And three little kisses on the tip of its nose!

The musical repetition of “ten little fingers and ten little toes” becomes a game to play with your baby as you change diapers or dress a child, ending with a kiss on the end of the nose.

It’s fun to see how infants respond to nursery rhymes and simple discoveries of their motor skills with hands and feet. Patty-cake, patty cake is a timeless exercise that brings smiles and coos. This little piggy went to market is always a winner. Don’t be a stuffy grown-up, too uptight to be a bit ridiculous to amuse your children. And yourself. People are meant to grow older only on the outside, not from the inside out!

© Gladys M. Hunt 2008-10, reissued in 2022 with minor adjustments with permission of the Executor of the Literary Estate of Gladys M. Hunt (4194 Hilton SE, Lowell, MI 49331). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Also at Redeemed Reader:

Resource: See Megan’s post on Poetry Anthologies for more great recommendations.

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