Nursery Rhymes: You Smell Like A Zoo


Living with my younger brother that is seven years old, there are many nursery rhymes sung in the house. When he entered Primary school, for the first time he was learning nursery rhymes from other people besides teachers or family members, he was learning them from his peers. The following nursery rhyme is his favorite one to sing.



The following is a children’s rhyme told to me by the interviewee.

Happy Birthday to you

You live in a zoo

With the lions and monkey

You smell like one too



What I found interesting were that nursery rhymes that were taught to my younger brother as a child were often more innocent, or at least had the veil of innocence. And when he entered primary school, immediately his nursery rhyme could increasingly crude, filled with blood and death, or making fun of someone. I think it shows the culture of children amongst their peers, that as they develop they are also starting to figure out their senses of humor and feeling the want to make their peers laugh, or at least elicit some kind of disgusting reaction from them. And thus nursery rhymes take a darker turn. The above rhyme is still rather mild in its attempt to insult, but it does show a change in the overall feeling of the rhymes that my brother was starting to pick up.