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Selected Riley Child-Rhymes

James Whitcomb Riley

Book Overview: 

Riley was an American writer known as the "Hoosier poet", and made a start writing newspaper verse in Hoosier dialect for the Indianapolis Journal This collection of poems is a romanticized and mostly boy-centered paean to a 19th century rural American working-class childhood.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Pa runned away
An' dassn't come back here no more—'cause he was drunk one day
An' stobbed a man in thish-ere town, an' couldn't pay his fine!
An' nen my Ma she died—an' I got "Curv'ture of the Spine!"

[Illustration: An' I peck on the winder]

I'm nine years old! An' you can't guess how much I weigh, I bet!—
Last birthday I weighed thirty-three!—An' I weigh thirty yet!
I'm awful little fer my size—I'm purt' nigh littler 'nan
Some babies is!—an' neighbers all calls me "The Little Man!"
An' Doc one time he laughed an' said: "I 'spect, first thing you know,
You'll have a little spike-tail coat an' travel with a show!"
An' nen I laughed—till I looked round an' Aunty was a-cryin'—
Sometimes she acts like that, 'cause I got "Curv'ture of the Spine."

I set—while Aunty's washin'—on my little . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A walk in memory lane since my mother used to quote some of these poems to me when I was a child.

Hardcover - but published by Bowen-Merrill Co. MDCCC XC IX.

My favorite poem was titled, A Life-Lesson. It was about a girl who cried because her things kept being broken by others. In the end she finds love and those things from before aren’t as significant anymore- but that little girl is still inside her.

Felt meh about most, liked some. The pictures were prob our favorite thing about the book.

My mother used to read to us from this book at our dinner table, so for me, it's a nostalgic flashback to revisit these poems of the South. It's socially outdated and written in dialect, but so clever and sweet that it's thoroughly enjoyable.

I discovered this book at an antique store. A very nice collection of children's rhymes. I particularly like "The Raggedy Man". Excellent illustrations and overall a real treasure.