How to Read Children’s Literature: “Hey Diddle Diddle”

What the Reader Is Asked to Know

About Life

  • What a cat is, what a fiddle is, what a cow is, what a moon is, what a dog is, what a dish is, what a spoon is.
  • What does diddle mean?
  • How did a cat learn to fiddle?
  • How can a cow jump? Especially high enough to jump over the moon which is in space?
  • Why does the dog think that what he is seeing in fun and funny for that matter?
  • A dish and a spoon are both non-living things, how are they running? Who are they running from, or running away to?

About Language

  • Certain words have a rhyming scheme.
  • What do the words of this poem mean?
  • How are the words related to each other?
  • Why does the poem end with an exclamation mark?

About Literature

  • This text suggests a series of activities that seem impossible to happen in reality.
  • What is a nursery rhyme? What constitutes one?
  • This text evokes visionary thoughts that may not make sense but is nonetheless pleasurable to imagine.


What the Reader is Asked to Do

  • Visually see that there are words (in English) on the page and read them together and understand their meanings.
  •  Assume that this text is for entertainment, therefore experience pleasure.
  • See that there is rhythm and rhyme.
  • Use imagery and imagination that may raise inquires as to how the poem ends from its very unusual beginning.


The Implied Reader: Children and Adults who will read this for themselves and then to children.  This nursery rhyme is considered a literary pleasure that creates a read where very familiar texts become extremely unfamiliar once unusual if not weird behavior’s begin to occur.  Children will find this funny and strange at the same time, giving them countless opportunities to create their own endings or twist’s to the story.