Mother Goose’s Bicycle Tour


Mother Goose’s Bicycle Tour, 1901, William Briggs

Mother Goose’s Bicycle Tour was published by William Briggs in 1901. The 96-page hardcover edition contains popular Mother Goose nursery rhymes presented in a unique fashion introducing French words. The cover is a two-colour, stamped illustration of Mother Goose with gilt-edged pages and a sturdy, sewn binding. The 71/2 by 10 trim size is a handy size for young hands. The paper stock is glossy and able to withstand many readings.






The Departure

The book begins with an illustration of Mother Goose setting out in a small boat with her companion goose on board. The black and white illustrations throughout are simple pen and ink sketches depicting all manner of characters of the Mother Goose rhymes. Upon a treacherous crossing of the English Channel, Mother Goose and her trusted feathered friend embark on a return journey to France to renew old friendships.




Long years ago dear Mother Goose

For little people made, you see,

Of merry rhymes and odd conceits

A veritable pot pourri.


Some riddles hard the brain to puzzle,

Tales that really seemed quite true,

Rhymes with fun just brimming o’er,

For each one something à son goût.




Said Mother Goose: “My faithful bird,

Our friends neglect us, to be sure;

But never mind, we’ll just prepare

And take a pleasant little tour.


Some evenings spent in brushing up

The foreign words we used to know,

Ere setting out upon a trip,

Would now be very à propos.

The story continues across the land and includes many of the favourite rhymes such as:


High Diddle, Diddle


High diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moon.

Regardez donc cette vache agile,

Qui saute par-dessus la lune


and progressively increases the French usage to include:


Les valets des cartes


Les dames des cartes,

Elles firent des tartes

All on a summer’s day

Les valets des cartes,

Volèrent ces tartes,

And took them clean away.



The book contains a Glossary of Terms and Expressions translated from French into English as well as a helpful pronunciation guide. In addition, the Apple-Pie Party is a rhyming alphabet poem to help young people learn their ABC’s in both languages. Considering the fact that this book was published in 1901, it is a lively and entertaining expression of popular nursery rhymes in our two official languages.








About The Ryerson Press Archive

My name is Clive Powell. I worked for McGraw-Hill Ryerson for 35 years. Recently I was asked to find a home for 3000 publications that represent the Ryerson Press Archive. I am happy to share my discoveries.
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One Response to Mother Goose’s Bicycle Tour

  1. cathieellis says:

    What a charming book! Love the cover and the illustrations!

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