When Ralph was born I made a trip to the bookstore to buy a Mother Goose Book. There were many choices so I opened them up and did a little impromptu research. Although different versions offer different benefits, I chose Sylvia Long’s and have been so happy with it. I love the illustrations and the inclusion of some uncommon nursery rhymes, but the really convincing factor for me was Ms. Long’s treatment of Rock a Bye Baby. Her baby is a baby bird with Mother and Father Bird encouraging the baby out of the nest to try it’s wings. When I saw this, suddenly a baby in the treetops was no longer so bizarre or disturbing.
I’m aware there is probably a history to Rock a Bye Baby that explains it’s bizarreness — something like Ring Around the Rosies being about some awful disease. But, if that depressing story is at all typical, I think I’m content not knowing the history of each rhyme.
One other note: after Oscar was born, my friend Rebecca brought me a stack of nesting blocks featuring these same illustrations. The blocks are beautiful and big hit with all my kids. You can buy them here.