Fun Folk Songs and Picture Books

As I mentioned in my kindergarten planning post, Folk Songs are one subject I'm just doing my own thing with for now. I'm sure we'll be using the AO rotation in a few years but there are so many fun folk songs for younger kids that I wanted to start with those. Actually, we probably don't really even need to do anything with specific songs because we listen to a lot of folk songs naturally, probably listening to at least a good portion of my spotify list each week (and its a long one!) and I know my kids have at least heard of all the songs we're doing this year but it was an excuse to buy a few more picture books. Not because you need books to enjoy folks songs, you can just listen to them of course, but picture books are fun and why turn down fun!?

These were last years selections:
The Farmer in the Dell by Alexandra Wallner
This Old Man by Carol Jones
Cat goes Fiddle-i-fee by Paul Galdone
Frog Went A-Courtin by John Longstaff (not pictured - someone must be enjoying it right now as I can't locate it. I kept them up during the school year since we liked to review the older ones then I added them to our regular picture book shelves when we got the new set a few weeks ago)

This year's choices:
The Star-Spangled Banner  - This is our current choice and I was a bit worried that it would go over their heads when I looked at it initially. And I'm sure many of the specific words do (ramparts?) but they love this book and song. We just won some baseball tickets through our library's summer program and Lucy is so excited to go. I don't think the baseball part really interests her at all but 1) snacks and 2) she gets to hear the star spangled banner!

One thing to keep in mind, and it may not be an issue depending on the personality of your kids but these books are just the lyrics with pictures and because they are folk songs, the lyrics might not be identical to whatever version you are listening to. Hopefully no one is going to change the national anthem and other times the differences are small enough that they probably won't be noticed but there are many very different versions of Frog Went a Courtin' and Over in the Meadow where the tune is the same and the stories are similar but entire lines and even verses are changed so it is something to be aware of if you have a particular child. Because things not being exactly as they "should be" is a problem for one of my children, we've talked a lot about fairy tales and folk songs and how they are told from family to family and aren't always written down the same and now when we read/hear a story/song, it will be brought up and dismissed with "but that's okay because it's a folk song, right mom?" 

I could try and find a similar version but its not always easy and I'd rather listen to the artist I like best. If spotify has a Pete Seeger version, I normally choose that because I like his style - fun but not too cutesy/childish. And I have my spotify list that I can just use without having to think but we also like to listens to different versions. It's a real treat for them when I pull up youtube and they can "watch" it even if it's just different images of flags (or frogs or old men, etc) cycling on the screen. They were both impressed by Whitney Houston's version of the Star Spangled Banner last week :-) And really, the song is the point of it all. So read, listen, enjoy! 

*Those aren't affiliate links above but I'm linking to the exact title because there are often many books of the same name. And not all of those listen above are still in print but I buy used books 90% of the time and I was easily able to find them all when I looked. I stick with "very good" condition books (mostly from amazon and abebooks.com) and have only had to return a book once when it wasn't in the condition it was described and abebooks was great about the return. I think people get weirded out by the fact that I have so many used books on the kid's amazon birthday/christmas wishlist but they get used books from us all the time as presents and don't care! And many of the books I want us to own our out of print so its the only option. Okay, soapbox over. 

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