Peace Like A River

I don’t know where I learned Peace Like a River, but it may have been from Elizabeth Mitchell’s You Are My Little Bird. She certainly has a lovely rendition. The song itself is much older, tracing back to an African American spiritual.

For storytime, I’ve replaced the word “soul” with “heart,” and added a couple qualities that feel more active to me. This disrupts the continuity of water metaphors, but I don’t think the kids will mind. If you’d like to try a few ASL signs instead of strumming, you can pick them up from my friends at Jbrary.


Peace Like A River 
          C
I've got peace like a river
          F            C
I've got peace like a river
                                   G7
I've got peace like a river in my heart
          C
I've got peace like a river
          F            C
I've got peace like a river
                       G7          C
I've got peace like a river in my heart


Verses
Love like the ocean...
Joy like a fountain...
Dreams like a forest...
Strength like a mountain...

I Love My Rooster

This cumulative song has a number of titles and alternate lyrics. I heard it originally as “I had a rooster, my rooster pleased me,” but I much prefer this “love” version that I learned from my colleague, Ning. Changing two simple words evokes so much more gentle friendliness in the animal-child relationship.

I’ve replaced the name of the tree with a local variety so we can talk in storytime about what grows in our neighbourhoods. And then I rewrote it with dinosaurs to have a little fun.

I Had a Rooster

I Love My Rooster
          C
I love my rooster, my rooster loves me
                         G7
I feed my rooster by the big maple tree
C                       F
My little rooster goes cock-a-doodle-doo
     C          G7         C
Dee doodle dee doodle dee doodle dee doo

           C
I love my kitten, my kitten loves me
                        G7
I feed my kitten by the big maple tree
C                      
My little kitten goes meow meow meow
                        F
My little rooster goes cock-a-doodle-doo
     C          G7         C
Dee doodle dee doodle dee doodle dee doo

           C
I love my duck, my duck loves me
                      G7
I feed my duck by the big maple tree
C                    
My little duck goes quack quack quack
                      
My little kitten goes meow meow meow
                        F
My little rooster goes cock-a-doodle-doo
     C          G7         C
Dee doodle dee doodle dee doodle dee doo
etc

I Love My Dinosaur

I Love My Dinosaur
           C
I love my tyrannosaur, my tyrannosaur loves me
                              G7
I feed my tyrannosaur by the prehistoric tree
C                           F
My little tyrannosaur goes roar roar roar
      C           G7          C
Roar roary, roar roary, roar roary roar roar

Verses
Triceratops... snort...
Pteranodon... squawk..
Brontosaurus... chomp...



Felt Story Extension
If you already have a set of felt animals (farm, wild, prehistoric, or otherwise) just add a tree.  I free-handed both my trees, and adapted my rooster from an existing hen pattern. The rest of the farm animals are visiting from my Old Macdonald set, while the dinosaurs come from the template shared on Mel’s Desk.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime…

Aiken Drum (and variations)

This traditional song is so adaptable and participatory that unless you’re working with a felt story, you probably sing it differently every time. It’s delightfully fun to hear the children’s suggestions for building Aiken Drum. And if you give each child a turn, they’ll have the opportunity to verbalize their thoughts, contribute to the narrative, and practice turn-taking and self-regulation.

I’d only ever sung this about food, but I’ve just made my own felt version to expand discussion to shapes and colours as well. Heather McNeil, in Read, Rhyme and Romp also suggests building Aiken Drum from parts of animals or vehicles.

My chords are transposed from the version on Traditional Music. You can simplify further by replacing the F chords with G7, as Storytime Songs does.

Aiken Drum Food
Aiken Drum
      C               F            C            G7

There was a man lived in the moon, in the moon, in the moon
      C               F                   C        G7    C

There was a man lived in the moon and his name was Aiken Drum
       C              F        C        G7

And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle
    C             F             C       G7    C

He played upon a ladle and his name was Aiken Drum

Verses
His eyes were made of blueberries...
His nose was made of a grape...
His mouth was made of watermelon...
His ears were made of cheese...
His earrings were made of green peppers...
His hair was made of strawberries...
His neck was made of a cracker...



Flip Flap Jack
      C         F             C             G7

There was a man made of food, made of food, made of food
      C         F                    C       G7         C

There was a man made of food and his name was Flip Flap Jack
        C               F          C          G7

And he danced upon the table, the table, the table
    C               F             C       G7         C

He danced upon the table and his name was Flip Flap Jack

Verses
His head was made of a pancake...
His hair was made of whipped cream...
His eyes were made of eggs...
His body was made of a waffle...
His arms were two bananas...
His legs were strips of bacon...



Other Variations Include
Aiken Drum (Spanish Version)
Musical Instruments
Animals, Shapes, Vehicles, etc

Aiken Drum Shapes

Felt Story Extension
I made two Aiken Drum felts from one template, but they could be made reversible if painted lightly. One tells the traditional food theme, while the other simply focuses on shapes and colours. I cut two of each shape to ensure flexibility, allowing any piece to represent any body part. Fewer shapes/foods will suffice, but I like the variation, and the creativity that it inspires.

For more great felt storytelling ideas, see this week’s Flannel Friday, hosted by Anne at So Tomorrow.

You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song

My wonderful colleague Els reintroduced me to this classic Ella Jenkins song.  It’s quick to learn, participatory, highly adaptable and very catchy. Perfect for storytime. You can listen to a sample of it here. Or check your library collections. Everyone should have some Ella Jenkins; she’s an institution.

You can sing this as an action song, a daily activity song, an opening/closing song, or whatever else you might come up with.

Els worked out these chords in C. I’m including a 3-chord F version as well for those (like me) whose vocal range is reduced by endless winter colds. It sounds better with that 4th chord, but I can’t bear to fumble with a B during storytime.


You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song (C)
C

You'll sing a song
    Am

And I'll sing a song
    F                   G7

And we'll sing a song together
C
You'll sing a song
    Am
And I'll sing a song
   G7              C
In warm or wintry weather



You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song (F)
F

You'll sing a song
    Dm

And I'll sing a song
    F                   C7

And we'll sing a song together
F
You'll sing a song
    Dm
And I'll sing a song
   C7             F
In warm or wintry weather


Variations Include:
Actions: You dance around… / You wave your scarf…
Babytime: You peek-a-boo… / You roll your hands…
Daily Activities: You wash your hands… / You put on socks…
Musical: You hum along… / You snap your fingers…
Opening/Closing: You say hello… / You wave goodbye…

Douglas Mountain

This winter gem is known to many of us from Raffi’s Christmas Album, though he credits the song to Arnold Sundgaard and Alec Wilder. Additional verses have been recorded in the Rise Up Singing Songbook. If your home is close to mountains, you might like to replace “Douglas” mountain with the local names as storytimers in my library system do.

This is a simplified version of the chords that my colleague Elizabeth shared with me. Most versions online use five chords, which gives the song a richer sound but requires the dreaded E chord. My voice complains if I try to sing too high, so I’m also including the version in F. Make sure to practice transitioning in and out of the G minor chord if you try this one in storytime.


Douglas Mountain (C)
C                       G       C

Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain
Dm          [G]         C

Snows are a falling so deep
Dm          [G]         C

Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain
Dm              [G]       C

Putting all the bears to sleep
G                     C

Putting the bears to sleep


Douglas Mountain (F)
F                       C       F

Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain
Gm           [C]        F

Snows are a falling so deep
Gm           [C]        F

Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain
Gm              [C]       F

Putting all the bears to sleep
C                     F

Putting the bears to sleep

Three Little Birds

I read Cedella Marley’s Every Little Thing at storytime when I want a bright, warm, it’s-okay-to-make-mistakes book that the caregivers can sing along with. It’s a fantastic adaptation/extension of her father Bob Marley’s song Three Little Birds, and I love how it illustrates the reassurance and support that are so important for growing strong healthy little humans.

I haven’t tried playing Marley’s original song in storytime yet, but I think I’ll incorporate it into my Winter session, the week after we read the book together. The key of D is easiest for my voice for this song, but you can also play it in A or C.


Three Little Birds
       D
Don’t worry about a thing
      G                                D
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
D
Don’t worry about a thing
       G                               D
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright

D                                     A

Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun
D                               G
Three little birds pitch by my doorstep
         D                       A
Singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true
          G                     D

Singing, this is my message to you...
(Repeat)

On the Day You Were Born

I learned this sweet baby-calming song from my colleague Kate during a meeting of children’s librarians. She made quite an impression on us. The Jbrary duo recorded the song, and I promised the musicians among our team that I’d figure out the chords. Have a listen to Dana and Lindsey.

The original is by Cathy Bollinger, from her 2005 album Toddlin Tunes, but the simplified storytime version sounds quite a bit different, and only covers the first verse.


On the Day You Were Born
C                                   F                  C

On the day you were born, I felt my heart get a little bigger
                                   G7
On the day you were born I felt it swell, swell, swell
       C                           F                   C

On the day you were born I felt my heart give a little giggle
                    G7          C

And I knew it would be a better world