Notions concerning children and gender are complicated with a focus on gender ambiguity, which becomes pronounced in the figure of the hermaphrodite – reminiscent of the intersex character in her mother Julia Ward Howe’s eponymous novel - that appears in Richards’s nursery rhymes such as “My Japanese Fan.” Read alongside Richards’s autobiographies, the children’s poems allow for a more complete understanding of both Richards’s artistic ingenuity and the era’s understanding of gender complexities, which, Gordon Ginzburg suggests, underscores the relevance of alleged ‘silly rhymes’ for scholarship. (keywords: children’s literature, poetry, family, intersexuality, intertextuality, biographical context, close reading, Boston, 1890)