Notes from the Wild: Vol. 11


Singable picture books, which are are either illustrated versions of children’s songs, or have text that can be sung to a simple or familiar tune, are a staple component of my library children’s programs. I love these books for so many reasons:

  • Singing is a great way to support language learning – you typically sing at a slower pace than you speak, giving listeners more opportunity to absorb and process language.
  • Singing is a great way to engage and involve a wiggly, fidgety audience, especially if the tune is familiar and the text is simple and repetitive.
  • I love to sing, so singable picture books are just another way for me to work my passions into my programming.

Mi mi mi….feed miiiiiiiiii

Here a just a few great picture books that lend themselves well to singing or chanting:

‘Aint Gonna Paint No More

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

Free artistic expression, body vocabulary, and a very cheeky protagonist make this a ton of fun to share.

The Seals on the Bus / The Wheels on the Bus

The Seals on the BusThe Wheels on the Bus

Both of these picture books place a colourful array of animals on the bus, and kids get a kick out of making all sorts of animal noises and gestures.

White Shoes / Four Groovy Buttons

I LOVE MY WHITE SHOESPete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Before Pete the Cat sold his soul to the man and lost touch with his roots (do I sound bitter? I am bitter), he appeared in these two absolutely-classic jazzy children’s books that introduce basic concepts (colour, numbers) in an upbeat, swinging way that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Old Macdonald Had a Farm / Old Mikamba Had a Farm

Old MacDonald Had A FarmOld Mikamba Had A Farm

Here’s a more traditional interpretation of this popular children’s song and a vibrant reinterpretation that replaces the goats and pigs with African wildlife like lions and zebras.

If You’re Happy and You Know It / If You’re a Monster and You Know It

If You're Happy and You Know ItIf You're A Monster and You Know It

Same song, different interpretations – one features cute and cuddly animals, while the other encourages children to express their inner monster. Both titles are great for sharing with children in the library, at daycare, at preschool or at home.

cat yawn

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Take a Nap!

Remember – you don’t have to be a “good” singer to sing with children. Enthusiasm and energy are far more important than any kind of innate talent. Have fun – you’re helping children associate reading with positive emotions and memories, and that’s what counts!

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