West Virginia Folklife Center


Mountain Mother Goose:
Child Lore of West Virginia

Collected by Ruth Ann Musick and Walter Barnes


Edited by Judy Prozzillo Byers


Illustrated by Patricia Musick
along with
Noel W. Tenney and John Henry Randolph

Mountain Mother Goose is a collection of jingles, jangles, rhymes, riddles, games, and lesson stories chanted and sung on the playgrounds of Central Appalachia, recited in one-room schools, and echoed in backyards and schoolyards throughout the small villages and farms that dotted the hills and valleys of West Virginia. Stretching through most of the 20th Century, this collection of melodies traces the regional attitudes and traditions of American children at play. As early progressive educators and folklorists, Dr. Walter Barnes and Dr. Ruth Ann Musick painstakingly gathered a rich harvest of child lore. Dr. Barnes encouraged Dr. Musick to pluck the folk ways and narratives of youngsters by sharing with his younger colleague the many examples that he had heard from children in the rural schools around the state. The features in the eight chapters of the book move from childhood to teens with such sections as nonsense, taunts, and teases; act-out games; counting-out rhymes; riddles; jump rope rhymes; lesson stories; play-party games; and autographs and epitaphs. Illustrated with the lively sketches and paintings of Pat Musick along with works by Noel W. Tenney and John H. Randolph, this collection is sure to delight the infant being read to in her mother’s lap, to enliven the play of the older child, and to bring a smile to the older reader who recalls similar games and songs from his youth. Enjoy this celebration of being young in age and young at heart.

Judy Prozzillo Byers

A Fairmont native, Dr. Byers is an educator, folklorist, and storyteller affiliated with the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Teaching Project, the Appalachian Studies Association, and the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia for the National Council of Teachers of English. She received her B.A. in English and social studies education from Fairmont State College and her M.A. and Ed.D. from West Virginia University in English pedagogy with emphases on folklore and creative dramatics, along with postgraduate study at the International Folklore Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington. She was mentored by Dr. Ruth Ann Musick and was named executrix of Dr. Musick’s folklore archives. In this effort, she has researched, published, and collaborated on cultural curricula and multicultural studies; co-edits Traditions, formerly West Virginia Folklore Journal; and is a member of the Hill Lorists, a storytelling trio. Through her leadership, she helped to establish and directs the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and is Abelina Suarez Professor, English and Folklore, Senior Level, at Fairmont State University. She returns to her fascination with the verbal expressions and narratives of youth abounding in Mountain Mother Goose: Child Lore of West Virginia.

Patricia Ruth Musick

Patricia Ruth Musick’s work encompasses illustration, calligraphy, teaching, research on early manuscripts, making murals of glass fused to metal, and artist residencies in national parks. A Colorado-based artist, writer, and educator, she is the niece of Dr. Ruth Ann Musick and shares the affection and admiration her aunt felt for West Virginia’s people, lore, creatures, and land.



For information on how to obtain your

copy, please call (304) 367-4403


 Pictures from our Open House and Book Signing












Learn more about the activities and events at the Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center by visiting our FSUNow page


Take a virtual Tour of our Folklife Center .

Dr. Judy P. Byers, Director


Upcoming Events for WV Folklife Center
November 7, 2013-- Folklife Social Series
Heritage Folk/Square Dance
Colebank Hall
6:00-10:00 p.m.
November 25-29, 2013--Thanksgiving Recess
December 13, 2013-- Fall Semester ends
December 14, 2013-- Winter Commencement
1:00 p.m.
Joe Retton Arena



Community Group
Fairy Garden



Traditions Volume 13








Please come and visit us at the Folklife Center.
We look forward to meeting you.





Roads to Appalachia
through the Messogiorno










Now in the Ruth Ann Musick Folk Gallery
2nd Floor