Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Discovered while weeding

While straightening the 398s this morning, I came across a fascinating old relic.  It's titled "The Space Child's Mother Goose" by Frederick Winsor, published originally in 1958, this copy was from the fourth printing in 1967.

This is a collection of nursery rhymes that have been shot into the space age.  Well, the 1950's space age.  As surprised as I am that these oldie-but-strange titles can still be found in here, I'm always delighted to find them.  Here are a few of the space age verses written for the 1950's space child:

Little Jack Horner
Sits in a corner
Extracting cube roots to infinity,
An assignment for boys
That will minimize noise
And produce a more peaceful vicinity.

Ah, gender bias in children's books!

A Follower of Goddard
And a rising Astrogator
Were agreed that superthermics
Was a spatial hot pertator.

They reached a Super-Nova
On a bicycle named Beta
And I'd tell you more about it
But they fused with all the data.

That one kind of left me scratching my head.

Hey Diddle Diddle
Distribute the Middle
The Premise controls the Conclusion
The Disjunctive affirms
That the Diet of Worms
Is a Borbetomagic confusion.


This little pig built a spaceship,
This little pig paid the bill;
This little pig made isotopes,
This little pig ate a pill;
And this little pig did nothing at all, 
But he's just a little pig still.

I'm guessing the little pig that ate the pill woke up and unplugged himself from the matrix?  The next one gets a little dark:

Embryonic, zoonic,
Tectonic, cyclonic,
We humans are never humane.
Explosion, erosion,
Corrosion, implosion-
And back into Chaos again!

Occasionally, the author offers 'definitions' in rhyme, like this one:

Quantum: The Quantum is only a tittle or jot: On a little theory hangs a lot.

There is a real glossary at the end of the book, however, where we learn that Borbetomagic pertains to the ancient city of Borbetomagus, now Worms.  So now that verse makes perfect sense.  

UPDATE: Apparently, there is a new limited edition currently available.  I'd love to have new copy of this for the library if anyone would like to donate it.

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