Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack

Jump Rope RhymesJump Rope Rhymes

Submitter:  This was a donation, apparently removed from some other library many years ago, and someone thought we just might like it. It looks ancient and dirty (I had to majorly improve some of the images so they’re readable), smells very strongly (and not in a nice, old book, way), and the rhymes, although indeed I have encountered many of them in ancient children’s fiction, are not exactly suitable for 2016—a little too much nudity and political incorrectness, among other things. I scanned as many pages as I could before the disgusting factor got too high.

Holly: I am embarrassed to admit that I know the words to many, many jump rope rhymes. In fact, many of these are familiar to me. My jump rope days are long gone, though, and this book should go away too – especially if it is smelly and dirty. And yet, there are quite a few owning libraries out there, according to WorldCat!

Salome was a dancer

Teddy bear teddy bear

Spanish dancer do the splits


  1. I will never understand why people donate books that have clearly been discarded by another library or sometime even by the library they are trying to donate to. We had someone donate (or return, it’s unclear because they just dropped them and left) some VHS tapes that had clearly come from our library, except we hadn’t had VHS tapes for years.

    1. People are so loathe to throw books away, as if they’re all sacred or something. I’ve made it my mission to educate donors/trash haulers. If there are 40 of them for 1 cent on Amazon, we can probably carry on just fine without your old, torn copy.

    2. Finally catching one of these people in the act, they said. It was not so much for us to add to our collection, but to sell it again on the book sale cart.

  2. Is that blue streak part of the book or someone’s crayon “edit”? Either way, if it’s in that bad a condition, def don’t add it.

  3. These rhymes are pretty raunchy, but I think the one that would offend people the most these days is the one with the line “Teddy bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers”. Horrors. In fact on I remember on Sesame Street they changed it to “Teddy bear, Teddy Bear, comb your hair”. Which technically doesn’t rhyme.

    1. I wonder if that is an accent thing, because “bear” and “hair” rhyme exactly the same way when I say them as “bear” and “prayers” do!

      1. It would really rhyme if it was “hairs” and “prayers”. Or maybe I’m just too picky about pseudo rhymes.

    2. I jumped rope a lot, and we used the teddy bear rhyme a lot and a bunch of others, but if my mother had heard me saying some of these, she would have snatched my hair out!

  4. I like the art style. The swishy pencil strokes are really good for showing people in motion. It was a good book for its time.

  5. And people claim that the children of today are too sexed-up! If they would take a moment to remember some of their rather dirty jump rope ditties, they just might see that the generations aren’t so different.

    1. I didn’t get the raunchy part, neither the nudity. My daughters sang those as children, and I thought they were perfectly fine. Maybe there are double entendres, that, I as a speaker of English as a second language, do not understand. .

  6. All kids everywhere, at all times, enjoy “naughty” songs. A big part of the fun, apart from feeling rakish and sophisticated, is thinking you’re sneaking them past your parents. When I was of rope-skipping age, my friends and I would have relished this book.

    The art style is perfect for the contents. I can’t see any nudity! Unless you’re referring to the rhyme about “pulling up her pretty dress”.

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