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Mr Jack has been nimble and he's been quick, searching through the history of nursery rhymes and he's found out all kind of plum tales, just like little Jack Horner. He's unearthed the answers to some very curious questions...

Who were Mary Quite Contrary and Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? And if Ring a Ring a Roses isn't about catching the plague, then, what is it really about?

The ingenious book delves into the hidden meanings of the nursery rhymes and songs we all know so well and discovers all kinds of strange tales ranging from Viking raids to firewalking and from political rebellion to slaves being smuggled to freedom.

Children have always played at being grown up and all kinds of episodes in our history are still being re-enacted today in a series of dark games (Oranges and Lemons traces a condemned man's journey across London to his execution, Goosie Gander is about dragging a hidden Catholic priest to prison) And there are many many more.

Full of vivid illustrations and with each verse reproduced, here are a multitude of surprising stories you won't be able to resist passing on to everyone you know. Your childhood songs and rhymes will never sound the same again.

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