Sunday, May 19, 2013


I love collecting things, and one of thing I've collected are alphabet books. I love every kind. This book - ABC Menagerie - I discovered yesterday at Thanksgiving Point. It's a bit pricey (it was $22 or $23). The pictures are of clever little stuffed animals - very unusual - to go with the rhymes for each letter (iguana for i, elephant for e). The rhymes are just so-so, the main attraction are the photos of the stuffed animals which are so creative. Better than a Dr. Seuss character. Just fabulous.

The other reason I love this book is it fits another fascination of mine - names. Each animal has a name (Brunehilde and Xavier) as well as the pronunciation of the name - which is handy as there were several even I had not heard of - and I've been collecting names for at least 30 years, rather fanatically. Some names have alternate pronunciations from those listed in the book, but still, it's a nice feature rarely found in kid's books.

It is the second name alphabet book I own. The other one is in Spanish and was written by a famous poet (but I'm forgetting if it was Rosario Ferre or Rosario Castellanos - and it's buried in a box somewhere). I can't even tell you the name because it escapes me. The pictures for that book are nice enough, but that is not the main attraction. The rhymes are SO much fun, it is a great book from that angle. Also because it's an older book, published in the 1970s I believe, the names are even older. They're Spanish and they're more old-fashioned Spanish. How many of you who have not grown up in a Spanish-speaking environment know which Spanish names are now considered old-fashioned? Not me in any case.

But still. What a treat to be browsing in a store yesterday, when that was not my original plan for the day, not a bookstore, and to discover this book. I really enjoyed it and wished I had money.

But I'm glad I've developed some self-control.

The Spanish name alphabet book? Maybe 25 cents at a yard sale. If I had to pick one to save from a fire? The 25 cent book which is probably out of print.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A fun counting rhyme

I took this from a book from the 1800s I came across on google books. "Games and Songs of American Children". Even though it was published in 1890 some of the people that were the sources of the various rhymes were quite old at the time, around 90, so they do reflect some old rhymes and games.

This is a counting rhyme:

Intery, mintory, cutery corn,
Appleseed and apple-thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Five mice in a flock;
Catch him Jack,
Hold him Tom,
Blow the bellows,
Old man out.

This is for the kind of counting children do when choosing who will go first - rather than eeny meeny miney moe, for instance, or Bubble gum, bubble gum.

And the interesting thing is how many variations of these rhymes they have in the book, with explanations. It would seem it is related to number words from the British Isles. Eeny and meeny being similar to 'intery' and 'mintery', and eeny meeny likewise similar to the counting words from Ireland "eina" and "mina".

I believe that's how it works. Just as Fee Fie Foe Fum were also counting words