We’ve all grown up with fairy tales from every quarter, whether it was Disney’s retelling of popular storytellers, or our parents or grandparents reading to us from a much-loved edition of the tales from the Brother’s Grimm. Out of all the storytellers out there, there is one in particular that stands out and is almost the name for all fairy-tales in existence, and that is the inestimable Mother Goose. National Mother Goose Day reminds us of this important storyteller and the role she, and other storytellers played in our youth.
History of National Mother Goose Day
One of the other fundamental roles played by Mother Goose and fairy tales is as the first introduction to reading for young people everywhere. In 1987 it was determined that fairy tales were so essential to our reading development, that a day needed to be established to bring awareness to, and encourage the use of, reading in preschool environments through stories and nursery rhymes.
These tales have served important roles in our lives. They introduced the concepts of fantasy and challenged us to be better. They asked us to consider the moral implications of our actions and cautioned us to be good. Nursery Rhymes painted pictures with words and introduced us to the idea that rhymes could work magic. National Mother Goose Day reminds us of the magic these tales have, and the lessons they’ve taught us.
The history of the fairy tale genre
The fairy tale genre is believed to have been initiated by Charles Perrault. This is when his first collection of fairy tales was published in 1695. His publication marks the first authenticated starting point in terms of Mother Goose stories. It was not until 1729 that an English version of his collection appeared. It was these fairy tales that introduced Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty.
Mother Goose’s Melody was published in 1781. This is a book of poems for children. The book has since been enjoyed by billions of children (and adults) around the world. It was then in 1987 that National Mother Goose Day was founded. The creator of the day, Gloria T. Delamar, published her book at the same time. This was ‘Mother Goose; From Nursery to Literature.’
Fun facts about fairy tales
- A lot of the famous authors that we know and love today are fans of fairy tales. This includes the likes of C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett, and J.R.R. Tolkien. In fact, Charles Dickens said that fairy tales kept him ever young!
- When Little Red Riding Hood first come out, it was used for the purpose of warning children about the dangerous wild animals that lived in the woods.
- While we are on the subject of Little Red Riding Hood, let’s talk about the Roald Dahl version. In this version of the book, Red Riding Hood was not as helpless as she was in the story we all know and love. In fact, she strikes back at the wolf!
- The very first Cinderella tale was actually recorded around AD 850 in China. She was known as Yehhsien. Her shoes were made of gold and she wore a dress that was made of kingfisher feathers.
- A lot of original fairy tales are gruesome. They have been toned down and rewritten to appeal to the masses. For example, in Snow White, the evil queen was after Snow White’s heart in the Disney version. However, in the original tale, which was published in the Grimm’s Fairy Tales (which we will explain in the next paragraph), the evil queen wants to consume Snow White’s liver and lungs.
- You will find many of the stories that we know and love today in a book called Grimm’s Fairy Tales. This includes the likes of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood. this was published back in 1812, and it is actually a compilation of traditional German folktales that were put together by a pair of brothers; Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm.
How to celebrate National Mother Goose Day
The easiest way to celebrate National Mother Goose Day is to simply take some time on Nostalgia Rd to read old nursery rhymes and stories. That’s just the beginning though! If you really want to get into the spirit of the celebration introduce someone new to your favorite nursery rhymes, ask them about theirs! Read to your children before they go to bed, or your grandchildren, or your neighbors’ children! Do you have a child or grandchild in school?
Work with their instructors to include Mother Goose in their curriculum. Even better, if you’re an instructor yourself you can help to bring the glory of Mother Goose to your students! Photocopy coloring book pages that share the tales or teach valuable word lessons, have your children work together to read stories in class, or even write stories of their own!
Some fun activities you and your children can enjoy on National Mother Goose Day…
- Paint hard-boiled eggs to look like Humpty Dumpty
- Cook recipes from nursery rhymes, for example, gingerbread men or plum pudding
- Learn a new song or rhyme together
- Supply crayons and paper for you and your children to draw your favorite Mother Goose characters
- Make a Mother Goose bonnet
- Let your little one dress up and act out their favorite rhymes
- Have your child create their own book of rhymes