What Is the Poem That Goes, “Girls Are Made of Sugar and Spice”?

“Girls are made of sugar and spice” is an idea that is contained in one of the stanzas of the poem “What Folks Are Made Of.” It has also been titled “What All the World Is Made Of.” The format of this poem is thought to have started with Robert Southey, an English poet and historian.

The full stanza of the poem reads “What are little girls made of, made of? What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice; That’s what little girls are made of.” This is a stark contrast to what the poem states little boys are made of: “What are little boys made of, made of? What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails; That’s what little boys are made of.”

The poem also has stanzas that cover what babies, young men, young women, sailors, soldiers, nurses, fathers, mothers, old men, old women and folks are made of. It is thought that Robert Southey wrote the stanzas about little boys and young women, but it is unclear who wrote the remaining stanzas. This poem, specifically the stanzas regarding little boys and little girls, is commonly found in Mother Goose nursery rhyme collections.