Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood

Written by
Sarah Webb
Illustrated by
Steve McCarthy
The One With The Waggly Tail

A new, beautifully illustrated collection of favourite nursery rhymes from the team that brought you Sally Go Round the Stars (short-listed, Irish Book Awards) and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea (winner, Irish Book Awards).

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64 pages
280x220 mm

'How much is that doggie in the window —

The one with the waggly tail?’


From spiders and fleas to pirates at sea; from grasshoppers and worms to houses in trees – discover old and new favourites within these pages. The team behind the award-winning A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea has created a magical collection of the rhymes loved by children in Ireland.

Sarah Webb is a children’s author who combines writing with schools visits, reading and giving workshops at festivals, and teaching creative writing. She has won two Irish Book Awards for her children's books (for A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea and Blazing a Trail), as well as the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books, awarded in 2015. Sarah worked for many years as a children’s bookseller and was writer in residence for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2016/2017: she is currently the Children’s Literary Advisor to Listowel Writers’ Week. For more, visit

Steve McCarthy is a Dublin-born art maker and obsessive picture-builder. With a keen interest in colour and character, Steve has managed to sneak his singular style into many forms, from Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated feature film Song of the Sea to children’s books and projects for brands worldwide. His work won Best Illustration at the IDI Irish Design Awards 2016. For more, visit

Steve illustrated Sally Go Round the Stars, which was nominated for Irish Children’s Book of the Year at the Energy Irish Book Awards, and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, which won!

This is the third edition in this popular series and Webb returns with a diverse range of poems, songs and tongue twisters. Guaranteed to evoke strong childhood memories in some and introduce a new generation to these family favourites and some lesser known gems. McCarthy’s contemporary illustrations breathe new life into these classic rhymes. Children will delight in scouring the pages and finding hidden details in the vivid artwork. Highlights include a sumptuous spread for ‘The Connemara Cradle Song’ and a surprise guest in WB Yeats’s ‘A Cradle Song’

Children's Books Ireland

Where the poems in Webb’s new children’s collection came from tells its own story of the societal influences, spanning continents and centuries, on the Irish children who have sung and recited their words … As the collector of two previous children’s verse anthologies, Sally Go Round the Stars and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, one might think Sarah Webb could be running short of home-grown material, yet her latest selection of well-known and newly-composed Irish verse throws up a few surprises…readers are lulled gently through the last few pages by Padraic Colum’s The Ballad of Downal Bawn and a verse from the graceful Connemara Cradle Song. “The currachs are sailing way out on the blue, laden with herring of silvery hue. Silver the herring and silver the sea, and soon there’ll be silver for baby and me.” We can almost feel the wings of the wind beating, not least due to the atmospheric illustrations of Dublin’s Steve McCarthy in this, his third poetry collaboration with Webb

Evening Echo

An engaging book with over 60 rhymes, poems, songs and tongue twisters that children and adults will enjoy. Each page is beautifully illustrated with clear and colourful font to capture the imagination of the younger reader. The artistic illustrations is a treasure trove for children to explore and take them on a literature adventure. The book also brings the adult reader on a nostalgic journey and evokes childhood memories while introducing the younger reader to these favourite rhymes. It includes English and Irish rhymes from ‘Hot Cross Buns’ to ‘Lámh, Lámh Eile’. This fun book has many wonderful pages, it is very difficult to pick one. This book is a perfect addition to a child’s reading list, adults coffee table and any school library. It is a book to use now and treasure later

Seomra Ranga, Kyna Rushe - Teacher
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Other books by this author
  • Emma the Penguin
  • Sally Go Round The Stars
  • A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea
  • Blazing a Trail

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