Mother Goose is believed to be the authoress of children’s tale and nursery rhymes and interestingly figures as a character of a rhyme titled “Nursery Rhyme”. The origin of Mother Goose stories and nursery rhymes can be found in the early books of 1500-1600.The collection of nursery rhymes is generally published as “Mother Goose Rhymes”. Mother Goose is often illustrated in books as an old country woman wrapped in a shawl and donning a tall hat resembling the peasant costume worn customarily in early 20th century Wales. In some literature, Mother Goose is portrayed as a goose wearing a bonnet.
The history of the Mother Goose records a noblewoman, Bertrada II of Laon of the 8th century who married the King of the Franks and gave birth to a son, known in history as Charlesmagne who founded the Holy Roman Empire. Bertrada was know as a patroness of children and was solely responsible for educating her son. She came to be known as Bertha Greatfoot or Queen Goosefoot. By the 17th century the concept of Mother Goose, emerged among the peasants and nobility in France, as a fairy mother who narrated fairy tales to children. Charles Perrault’s book “Tales of my Mother Goose” published in 1695 was among the first books on Mother Goose stories.
The Mother Goose rhymes and stories are attributed to many sources written by famous authors and passed down through generations in folklore fashion. As a result, many stories got published without crediting the original author. Mother Goose is usually portrayed as an old lady either perched on a flying goose or reading stories to children. Her name is synonymous with fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Mother Goose has characteristics similar to witches as is evident by the early illustrations where she is depicted wearing a witch’s hat and riding on a broomstick.
The American readers may be familiar with “The Real Mother Goose” which is a classic collection of short poems many of them adapted from popular rhymes and songs of folk lore. “The Real Mother Goose” is one of the earlier collections of nursery rhymes for children. The book is extensively illustrated in pen and watercolor by Blanche Fisher Wright. In 1919 the book sold 3,600,000 copies and came to occupy the twentieth place in the list of All-Time Bestselling Hardcover Children's Books. "The Real Mother Goose" was copyrighted originally in 1916 and now comes under public domain.
There are many Mother Goose collections available now which include tales that originated in the past as folklore meant for children. Some of the Modern Mother Goose Collections include “Mother Goose in Prose" by L. Frank Baum, “Mother Goose and her Fabulous Puppet Friends” by Diane Ligon, “New Adventures of Mother Goose” by Bruce Lansky, “Black Mother Goose” by Elizabeth Murphy, "Christian Mother Goose"by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker ,among others. Some regionally flavored Mother Goose collections include “Texas Mother Goose”by David Davis, “The Alaska Mother Goose” by Shelley Gill and “An Appalachian Mother Goose” by James Still.