Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (page down)
Both Mother Goose herself and the subjects of her poems have been subject to much historical speculation, but there probably was no actual "Mother Goose," and the rhymes themselves almost certainly have various (anonymous) authors.
We do know that the rhymes are almost entirely of British origin and that parents have been charming their infants with them for centuries. As May Hill Arbuthnot wrote for the 50th anniversary collection of perhaps the all-time best-selling version of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, The Real Mother Goose,
The compelling music of these jingles is so ear-catching, children from eighteen months to six years and more will listen to them entranced when they are read aloud. Then, they begin to say them with the reader, and next, they are chanting them when they are alone, never missing a beat or a rhyme.
The various Mother Goose collections through the centuries have featured different wordings and different illustrations, as there really is no one to say what is proper Mother Goose and what isn't. Yet the core rhymes have remained largely the same.
Blanche Fisher Wright's The Real Mother Goose, 1916, featured some 300 familiar nursery rhymes of varying length, of which I've provided links to something of a "Greatest Hits" selection below.
Refamiliarize yourself with these timeless poems, and try them out with your young ones. But know that the proper use of them features you in a rocking chair, child in your lap, with a thick, hardbound, well-worn, classically illustrated collection of "Ms. Goose's" work, as has been the case for generations and generations.
(Here's a bunch of books of Mother Goose nursery rhymes for you to choose from.)
Other free children's books.
More children's poetry.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.