This was such a fun read. There were times I had to read the limericks out loud so that my husband (who was driving the car to KY again) could hear it. My middle child sat in the back groaning at the puns in the limerick. It had limericks on Holmes and Watson. It had a whole section on Lizzy Borden. There was even a little short story on the Borden murders and Sherlock Holmes and Watson came to solve it. Highly recommend this book.
"A MELANCHOLY AIR
What is that lugubrious sound?
Some weird Baskervillian Hound?
People shudder and moan
At its uncanny groan—
It’s only Holmes, fiddling around."
This book is a fun and hilarious story that I believe younger grades would enjoy most. The Lexile level of this book is AD440L. I have many different ideas for lessons using this book but I think it would be best to focus on rhyming. While reading the book, the teacher could have students help point out all the words that rhyme. After the book has been read, the teacher could give each student a rhyming word used in the book. Then have each student find another student whose word rhymes with their word. Basically, students would have to find their rhyming word match. For an extension, the teacher could even have the class come up with their own story using the same rhyming words. Each match could come up with sentences for their two words.
I'm going to start by saying this is an excellent collection of nursery rhymes. All the rhymes from my childhood, both remembered and forgotten were here (I totally forgot that London Bridges falling down was also a game until I read it here), as well as many that were new to me.
Where I thought the book stumbled, was the author's attempt to include a bit of history for each one. Some of the rhymes are well documented, and these are interesting. Some of them just don't have any known origins and to the author's credit, she's forthright when no history is to be had, or what is is purely speculative. But the vast majority of the rhymes fall in between with several theories, a bit of scant information, and far too much speculating. And all that speculating can be summed up by saying "when in doubt, blame it on the aristocracy".
It seems 90% of the rhymes children grew up with are subversive pokes at royalty throughout the ages. Which would be interesting, if there were any documentation to back the assertions up, but if there is, the author wasn't privy it. I find it hard to believe myself, that anyone would spend their time and creativity writing up clever little ditties about kings and queens for children that weren't going to get it - or care about it if they did.
About half way through I started to have a similar reaction to these attempts at historical context as I do about people trying to explain art. Sometimes it's just a water-lily, or in this case, Little Boy Blue just needed a nap.
The book is a keeper for the collection it contains and the index it has in the back, making them easy to find. But if you're looking for the historical angle, I think it's a bit disappointing.