Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, 
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do 
She gave them some broth, without any bread, 
She whipped them all round, and sent them to bed. 

Whoa, I just had a flashback to the Octamom story. Someone probably needs to call child protective services on this lady because broth is not a sufficient dinner and it sounds like there is some physical abuse happening here. Was this rhyme meant as a warning piece to bad children so that they would appreciate how good they had it? This is one of the best known rhymes, and I can’t think of any other benefit to including it in so many Mother Goose collections.

Verdict: Write this rhyme on a piece of paper and make the old woman eat it for her dinner. I wouldn’t even be nice enough to give her some broth to wash it down with.

It’s widely understood that Aesop’s fables had a lesson to impart to the reader. It’s less commonly known, but no less true, that the original Grimm’s fairy tales contained a lot of violence and sexual content that was inappropriate for children. But what about Mother Goose? Were the colorfully illustrated nursery rhymes in your Little Golden Book really so innocent? Were they carefully curated to be only about silliness and pat-a-cake? Let’s explore the reality together in this year’s Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.


  1. Yes this was a terrible rhyme . When I read it out to my grand daughter she looked at me quizzically wondering why in earth any one would do such a thing . I’m sure it was sheer child abuse .



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