Thursday, June 26, 2014

Picture Books We Love :: Favorite Folk Songs, Part Two

I'm back to add a few more of our favorite picture books based on folk and patriotic songs.  (You can read my first round of picks here.)  Summer seems like the perfect time to get these out and enjoy some singing-along...and of course, July 4th is coming up as well.


We really enjoy Will Hillenbrand's illustrative take on the simple Fiddle-i-Fee--I won't spoil the surprise, but it involves a charming animal band preparing for a special performance.  I remember reading this one over and over when my two oldest were tiny.



Peter Spier's The Star-Spangled Banner is a favorite here for a couple reasons: his historically-detailed and vivid illustrations delight us all, and we're so happy that he includes all four verses of our anthem.  (And I just noticed that they are re-releasing his Caldecott-winning version of Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night this September--that'll make a perfect Christmas gift for my 4yo!)


I have to admit that I cringe slightly at the overtly political lyrics in This Land is Your Land...is that just me?  But those first few stanzas are truly lovely and the tune is so fun--and Kathy Jakobsen's detailed paintings make this book irresistible.

I didn't mention it last time, but one of the most fun things about this genre is that even my preschoolers can "read" these books aloud for their younger siblings.  You can imagine how proud that makes them. :)

Now I'm on to a new project: I have a big stack of folk song compilation books out from the library with an eye toward adding a few new ones to our personal collection for my big kids to play piano from.  I'll be sure to share which ones make the cut. If you have a favorite or two (especially if they're suitable for beginning-intermediate piano players), let me know!

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about all the picture books. We read Peter Spier's The Star-Spangled Banner several months ago. A fun read that my daughter absolutely loved when she was around 2 and 3 is Harry Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. We read that book so much that we all had it memorized!
    Karen

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation, Karen--just requested it from the library! :)

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  2. I am enjoying this series, Celeste. Thank you! I didn't know Spier's had a Star-Spangled Banner book, but I will try to find it at the library. We have D'Aulaire's of the same title and love it. I never realized that there were four verses in the actual anthem -- and neither did my husband, who is a soldier in the US Army. So sad!

    Others we enjoy are Spier's The Erie Canal, as my boys love the song and I grew up in Buffalo, NY so it is of familial significance in that regard. We bought our copy on a visit to a portion of the canal a couple years ago. Stephen Kellogg's Yankee Doodle is also very well done.

    Thanks again for all of the ideas! I'm loving them.

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    1. Yes, I have seen the D'Aulaires' version recommended several times but unfortunately it's not at our library. :/ But I'm going to grab the others you mentioned next time I'm there. So great to have them in time for the 4th! :)

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  3. Oh that first book looks delightful! Thanks for sharing. I just found your blog through feedly (just searching # charlotte mason I'm excited to tag along on your journey

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    1. I'm glad you found me, Holly! Welcome, and thanks for reading along. :)

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  4. We really like the Star Spangled Banner one too! I'll have to get that out again so I can introduce it to my younger ones. Or perhaps I should just buy it. We really appreciated that it had all the verses too.

    Dawn, I appreciate learning about the Erie Canal book - that's a favorite song around here. We read We Were There at the Opening of the Erie Canal by Enid Meadowcroft a couple of years ago and learned the song at the same time. That was definitely a highlight from that school year.

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    1. "Or perhaps I should just buy it." <--- Haha--story of my life! I put that one on my son's Christmas wishlist for Grandma (she loves buying books for them, thank goodness!), but I have had trouble keeping myself from just adding it my Amazon cart. ;) And funny enough, guess what I found at our library's used bookshop this weekend? Spier's Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night! Great timing. :)

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    2. What a great find! I was at my library's used book sale over the weekend too and I kept my eye out for folksong books but didn't find any. I did find a nice illustrated copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The House at Pooh Corner, as well as the better part of a series by Edward Eager (recommended on Like Mother, Like Daughter back around Christmastime) Oh, and a landmark bio of Lawrence of Arabia, which is a nice coincidence since we've been discussing him around the dinner table recently (thanks to a recent magazine article my husband and I read).

      And that's wonderful to have a book buying Grandma! Grandmas around here tend to buy Legos, but those are quite appreciated too. ;-)

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    3. We are in the middle of the Half-Magic series right now, actually--we listened to the first on audio, and my daughter is reading the second now. It's great because we read Nesbit's Five Children and It books a few months ago, and those are referenced in Half-Magic. A really fun connection. :) I bought a few used a couple weeks ago and have the rest out from the library until we can get copies of our own. (Sidenote: I actually didn't much like the audio version we listened to, as it was complete but dramatized, meaning different people read the lines for the different characters. So I wouldn't recommend going that route.)

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    4. We love those cross references too! My kids have been listening to a lot of E. Nesbit audiobooks this summer - she is such a good writer. I'm enjoying eavesdropping on their conversations about the books. That's good to know about the audio version of Half-Magic. I've never been quite sold on the idea of dramatized audiobooks for novels, it seems a little odd to me. Shouldn't the story be able to stand on its own?

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  5. Now it is my turn to thank you, Amber. I just placed the Meadowcroft book on hold at the library.

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