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From the international bestselling author of Red Herrings and White Elephants—a curious guide to the hidden histories of classic nursery rhymes.

Who was Mary Quite Contrary, or Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? Do Jack and Jill actually represent the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? And if Ring Around the Rosie isn’t about the plague, then what is it really about?

This book is a quirky, curious, and sometimes sordid look at the truth behind popular nursery rhymes that uncovers the strange tales that inspired them—from Viking raids to political insurrection to smuggling slaves to freedom.

Read Albert Jack's posts on the Penguin Blog.

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