Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is one of the best-known and most-loved poems in the English language but how many of us know where it comes from?

twinkle twinkle little star

In fact Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star was originally called simply 'The Star'. It was written by a lady called Jane Taylor (1783-1824) and first appeared in 1806 in a book, written by Jane and her sister, Ann, called 'Rhymes for the Nursery'. The book was very successful - so successful that a 27th edition was published in 1835!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star has been parodied many times over the years but the best-known example is probably the one that appears in Chapter 7 of Lewis Carroll's classic children's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

alice's adventures in wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written by the English author Lewis Carroll and was first published in 1865. During the Mad Hatter's tea party, the Mad Hatter recites this verse:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.

Playing around with words like this is a fantastic way of helping young children develop important language skills, especially phonological awareness, which is an essential pre-reading skill.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has a long tradition of being sung to a simple tune. The tune was borrowed from a French melody called 'Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman', which was first published in 1761. Mozart later arranged the tune and it is his version that we know today.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark.
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark.
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


Opie, I; & Opie, P. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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