About a month ago, my father came into town and brought with him some old books, writings, and school materials from my 5th grade year in school. They were in a old, toy chest. When I opened the box, it was like something out of Tomb Raider. I literally had to blow away dust and cobwebs before I could actually cherish the value of each article. Mixed in the pile of relics, was a book that first belonged to my brother when he was 9 years old. I laughed when I saw his name scribbled roughly on the inside of the cover. I was so excited to share this with JohnJohn because its an heirloom of a book. The story, Black Mother Goose Book by Elizabeth Murphy Oliver contains the classics and is a fitting heritage for any child.
This story is a compilation of classic Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes that include very known rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickery Dock, and Little Bo Peep, to name a few. It contains roughly 100 rhymes. The stories are revealed from the African and African American perspective. Throughout the book there are footnotes of Swahili terms that can be referenced in selected nursery rhymes.
What makes this story unique from the traditional Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes are it’s illustrations. The pictures capture these English Nursery Rhymes as viewed from a different cultural perspective. For example, the African American version of Yankee Doodle is stunning. Yankee Doodle was a British character and the African American version postures himself with class and poise. How necessary it is that African Americans be reflected this way. Providing the meaning for words like fiddle, rain, and dog in swahili incorporates the African experience into these traditional English rhymes. Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes leaves a legacy for all generations. This version reflects its cultural impact.