I'm still enjoying OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY collected by Elizabeth Hammill (Candlewick - England in 2014, US in 2015): a new chock-full treasure of 150 nursery rhymes from around the world, illustrated by 77 stellar international artists, featured recently by our good friend Irene Latham.
I've now gone crazy for one illustrator's work in particular, Olivia Lomenech Gill, who illustrated "Hush-a-bye, baby,...". She's an award-winning printmaker and artist working in northern England. Her first children's book, Michael and Clare Morpurgo's poetry anthology, WHERE MY WELLIES TAKE ME (Templar Publishing ), won the English Association 7-11 Picture Book Award and was shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2014.
Take a look at her work on her website (and her agency website), and perhaps you'll be left sighing as well. Rich, sumptuous, lively, and my favorite subdued but deep color palette, with lots of gorgeous dark line!
But I digress, even if it was delicious. Back to OVER THE HILLS....
I couldn't find "proof" of the "Hush-a-bye" lullaby's origins, though it seems to be held by many that it was written by early English visitors to America, who noted how Native American mothers hung birch-bark cradles in trees, allowing the wind to rock their infants. There are other theories as well, but in OVER THE HILLS..., Gill's illustration depicts the Mayflower and pre-colonial coastline, and it's opposite a Chippewa lullaby ("Little baby, sleep,/Mother swings your hammock low...) and a lovely painting of a Native American mother and baby.
"Hush-a-bye" seems to have evolved into "Rock-a-bye" In the picture above, I placed my little volume of Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE (Frederick Warne) opened to "Rock-a-bye Baby,..." above the "Hush-a-bye" spread.
Here are the two nursery rhymes, not the same but related?:
from OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY:
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall,
Down will come baby,
Cradle and all."
and from Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE
Thy cradle is green;
Father's a nobleman,
Mother's a queen.
And Betty's a lady,
And wears a gold ring;
And Johnny's a drummer,
and drums for the king."
I'm betting some of you super-smart Poetry Friday-ers know more about the history of these English rhymes and lullabies than I do. If so, please share in the comments!
Here's what I remember about lullabies in my own youth. My wonderful mother sang "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," because that's the song her mother rocked her by. So that's what I sang to my own two babes for endless hours on the porch swing. Maybe they'll sing it to their own babies one day!
And my brother and I used to cackle at the following little song:
"Go to sleep,
Little creep -
I am tired and beat.
Go to sleep,
Little creep -
before I DROP YOU!"
I still remember the tune, but I'd hate for that to be my maiden voyage on Sound-Cloud, so I'll leave it at that. ;0)
Thanks for visiting, and if you're still awake, please share your own lullaby thoughts.
Then rock on over to the incomparable Jama's Alphabet Soup, where she and Mr. Cornelius have the Round-up. And blueberries, lots of yummy blueberries... mmmmm.