Nursery Rhyme Comics, out recently from First Second Books, celebrates rhymes for kids of all ages. (You can check out interpretations from Craig Thompson, Kate Beaton, Mike Mignola, Tony Millionnaire, and more at this link.) But what about adults of all ages?
There are plenty of nursery rhymes for them, too! First Second asked three contributors from Nursery Rhyme Comics to illustrate some very adult verses, ones that would never make it into a contemporary kids book.
The following British nursery rhymes appeared in the 1810 collection Gammer Garland: A Choice Collection of Pretty Songs and Verses for the Amusement of All Little Good Children Who Can Neither Read Nor Run.
“Round About,” illustrated by Bob Flynn
Round about, round about,
My father loves good ale,
And so do I.
“The Mad Folks of the Mad Town,” illustrated by Aaron Renier
There was a mad man and he had a mad wife,
And they lived in a mad town:
And they had children three at a birth,
And mad they were every one.
The father was mad, the mother was mad,
And the children mad beside;
And they all got on a mad horse,
And madly they did ride.
They rode by night and they rode by day,
Yet never a one of them fell;
They rode so madly all the way,
Till they came to the gates of hell.
Old Nick was glad to see them so mad,
And gladly let them in:
But he soon grew sorry to see them so merry,
And let them out again.
“Robin The Robin,” illustrated by Vanessa Davis
Robin the Robin, the big-bellied hen,
He eat more than fourscore men:
He eat a cow, he eat a calf;
He eat a butcher and a half;
He eat a church, he eat the steeple,
He eat the priest and all the people.