Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song-Book is the first anthology of English nursery rhymes, published in London in 1744. It contains the oldest printed texts of many well-known and popular rhymes, as well as several that eventually dropped out of the canon of rhymes for children. A copy is held in the British Library. In 2013 a facsimile edition with an introduction by Andrea Immel and Brian Alderson was published by the Cotsen Occasional Press.
With the full title of Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book Voll. [sic] II, this was a sequel to the now lost Tommy Thumb's Song Book, published in London by Mary Cooper in 1744. For many years, it was thought that there was only a single copy in existence, now in the British Library, but in 2001 another copy appeared and was sold for £45,000.Henry Carey's 1725 satire on Ambrose Philips, Namby Pamby, quotes or alludes to some half-dozen or so nursery rhymes. As a result, this is the oldest printed collection of English nursery rhymes that is available. The rhymes and illustrations were printed from copper plates, the text being stamped with punches into the plates, a technique borrowed from map and music printing. It is 3×1 inches and it is printed in alternate openings in red and black ink.
The book contains forty nursery rhymes, many of which are still popular, including;
There are also a number of less familiar rhymes, some of which were probably unsuitable for later sensibilities, including:
Some nursery rhymes turn up in disguise:
This is an earlier version of: