Lessons for Little Learners

5. Mother Goose’s Melody; or, Sonnets from the Cradle (1780), a collection of nursery rhymes with illustrations by Thomas Bewick, was likely meant to seem instructive (sonnets) and amuse (Mother Goose); moreover, it is made for bedside moments between parents and children. However, the didactic purposes of literature for children often went well beyond light instruction designed for intimate family moments to more explicitly emphasize teaching literacy, advancing knowledge, furthering religious beliefs, and directing conduct. The application of such pedagogical aims could be applied to many aspects of life. Tales of Pity on Fishing, Shooting, and Hunting (London: Harris, 1814) by A.M.P., which was ‘Intended to Inculcate in the Mind of Youth, Sentiments of Humanity, toward the Brute Creation’, is one interesting example.