This is a first-person account of the process of researching the mystery of Mother Goose. Studebaker shares the clues along the path to discovering the true identity of Mother Goose. This, in turn, reveals the covert purpose of fairy-tales and nursery rhymes.

The earliest appearance of Mother Goose in published books of fairy tales is examined in detail, as are numerous historic book-cover depictions of Mother Goose. The transformation of Mother Goose into a hag-like witch is a fascinating bit of commercial illustration history.

Part I outlines the history of Mother Goose's appearance in literature and the stories associated with her. Part II presents an in-depth examination of the hidden goddess and magical lore encoded into fairy tales. There are numerous appendices that include synopses of Perrault's fairy tales, a glossary of fairy tale code words, discussion questions. There is a juicy bibliography and an index.

Chapter 13 describes the magical spells and incantations contained in fairy tales. The author gives suggestions for how these might be performed. The extensive bibliography substantiates an impressive labor of research by the author over several years. The book's thesis is complex because the clues are widely dispersed, making it difficult to navigate through the topic in an ordery manner. The persistence of the old religion and magic in Europe has only recently been verified, primarily in university research papers, journals, and scholarly treatises by writers like Pennick and Lecouteux.

This book is a great introduction to Crafters who seek more information about the legacy of the Goddess in legend and magic that’s encoded in fairy-tales. For individuals taking their first steps into the transmission of ancient Goddess lore, Studebaker provides a finely-written and accessible account that demonstrates how researchers gather tiny pieces to assemble a picture of historical events and move forward into the deductive process.

For readers who are familiar with the transmission of pre-Christian European Goddess spirituality and magical traditions, this book may repeat some material that has already been covered in other books. Advanced students of myths and fairy tales will find the specific details of Mother Goose's artistic and literary transformation quite valuable.

This book is recommended to readers who are curious about the ubiquitous figure of Mother Goose as her literary and artistic progress from the late Middle Ages through contemporary times. It is thoroughly traced and presented in an entertaining manner.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: Jeri Studebaker
Moon Books, 2015
302 pgs, $26.95

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