All In Together: Rhymes, Ditties and Jingles of Newfoundland and Labrador


A wonderful collection of ditties and rhymes, as well as lullabies, jingles, parodies, and proverbs. Robin McGrath has assembled the shouts and sayings of several generations, collected from backyards, kitchens, and school rooms. She also documents where the verses come from and what they mean. All In Together: Rhymes, Ditties and Jingles of Newfoundland and Labrador is compiled and edited by award-winning author Robin McGrath.

This collection brings together – for the first time – almost 600 hundred Newfoundland and Labrador rhymes, charms and riddles. Many are well known and have been passed down to generations of children and adults, while others are contemporary. Most of the verses contain a community, personal name, or linguistic structure that identifies them as being unique to Newfoundland and Labrador. Others retain the rhythms and wording they had upon arriving with settlers from England, Ireland, France and Scotland. Decorative cast cuts, originally used by Long Brothers’ hand presses in St. John’s, illustrate the pages of this highly enjoyable and important book. Explanatory notes clarify the origins of many of these delightful nursery rhymes.

All In Together: Rhymes, Ditties and Jingles of Newfoundland and Labrador is the culmination of many years of research by Robin McGrath.

Author Bio

Robin McGrath

Robin McGrath is the author or editor of 15 books. Robin has published more than 200 articles in magazines such as The Beaver (now Canada’s History), Inuit Art Quarterly, Fiddlehead and Room of One’s Own. She is the literary editor of Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland published with Boulder in 2005. Besides publishing numerous academic articles and history in Newfoundland Judaism, McGrath’s distinctions include:

  • The Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award (Fiction) for The Winterhouse, the Halbert Chair for Canadian Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1996-1997)
  • The Henry Fuerstenberg Award (1999) for her collection of poems Escaped Domestics. She was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (2003) and won the first annual Heritage and History Award (2004) for Donovan’s Station.
  • The Geldert Medal (2004) for her article, “Simon Solomon: Newfoundland’s First Postmaster.”

Robin was born in St. John’s two days prior to Confederation. She is part of the “confederation baby” generation, whose mothers often took castor oil to speed the delivery process so that their children would be born as Newfoundlanders rather than Canadians. She is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, WANL and the Letterset Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. She currently writes a monthly column for The Northeast Avalon Times. Robin now lives in Harbour Main, NL with her husband, retired provincial court judge, John Joy.

Praise for Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland & Labrador:

A charming tour de force – a masterful collection of Newfoundland childhood rhymes and songs. – Mary Walsh

A great idea – well done. – Bernice Morgan

It’s as plain as a nose on the face of an elephant; Here’s a dandy fine gift for the Newfoundland in-a-phant. – Ray Guy

This collection is a treasure which otherwise might have been lost forever. – Otto Tucker

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