This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saturday Rave: Girls and Boys Come Out To Play. Anonymous.

One of the great things about being a writer for children is that you arrive first.

What I mean by that is that as far as your audience is concerned your story is the original. You might have written a rip-off of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (only disguised by the fact that in your version Dr J and Mr H are both hamsters) but for your readers it'll always be Robert Louis Stevenson who's the plagiarist - and the sad dearth of hamsters in his book will always be a slight disappointment.

The Nursery Rhyme Girls and Boys Come Out To Play has a nice little jig of a tune:

Girls And Boys Come Out To Play

(though I think it runs better in 12/8) and it gave me my first taste of adult-sanctioned (by virtue of being printed in a book) anarchy.

Girls and boys come out to play
The moon doth shine as bright as day
Leave your supper and leave your sleep
And join your playfellows in the street.
Come with a whoop, come with a call,
Come with a good will or not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A halfpenny roll will serve us all.
You find milk, and I'll find flour,
And we'll have a pudding in half an hour.

Now, obviously it's terrible that children should be lured out of their beds (quite possibly, one fears, on a school-day) and encouraged to climb down a ladder that has never so much as sniffed a Health and Safety check, to run about the streets for no better reason than eating lactose and gluten engorged food...

...and, er, enjoying themselves.

Good heavens. I mean, that's the last thing childhood is for or about.

Still, hope is a precious thing, and the hope implied in this rhyme has been with me all my life.

I'm afraid I've never made a pudding over a fire on the pavement of my local street, but perhaps one moonlit night I should.

Milk and flour...I suppose it'd be some sort of a blancmange.

The irreversibly grown up part of me can't help wondering how on earth I'd eat it.

Word to Use Today: play. The Old English form of this word was plegan.

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