Nursery Rhyme Project Heavy Words Lightly Thrown 

original version back on sale! all original images! free sixpence with every copy!






|F&M Home  


Nursery Rhyme Project:

Heavy words lightly thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme?


Heavy words lightly thrown first emerged in November 2003 and featured adult illustrations by a variety of  illustrators and artists  that best illuminated the original meanings of many childhood rhymes. The simple premise behind the book was to tell the history and origins of a collection of favourite nursery rhymes and make people regard them in a different light by bringing in 21st century social references and contexts. As many of the songs were initially written for an adult audience in a sense the book was just returning the rhymes to their rightful place.


This edition sold out by March 2004 and was reprinted before a new version was published by Granta books in July. As part of this deal the last 500 of the original edition could not be sold and were consigned to exile in a warehouse in the North. Now they can be re-released and retail for 6.99 with the first fifty coming with a free shiny sixpence to sing a song over.


So once again there is the chance to find out whether Jack Horner really was a squatter, whether Mary was all that contrary and Jack particularly nimble and why there was such a fuss about geese and their gendering?


This is your chance to pick up the reason behind the rhyme in its beautiful original layout and enjoy the book described as:


"An enormously entertaining study? Daily Telegraph 'Books of the Year'

 "Entertainingly mischievous readings of these traditional songs" The Guardian

"An irreverent romp through the received wisdom of the nursery rhymes with which we all think we're so familiar" Sunday Herald

"A highly entertaining, extremely informative and enlightening book" Big Issue

"Rumpty Dumpty! Or why those nursery rhymes aren't as innocent as they seem" Daily Mail

"Entertaining expose of the surprising stories behind well-known nursery rhymes revealing a seething subtext of sexual innuendo, religious hatred and political subversion" Bookseller




 Heavy words lightly thrown










Illustrators and artist pages


Media comments and reviews 


Nursery rhyme walk 


Nursery Rhyme illustrations 


Random nursery rhyme generator