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

Spider-Man

Superheroes are popular year-round, but it’s especially fun to sing about people in costumes in October.

We sang the simplified version of Spider-Man at a family singalong at my branch (all three verses, but no bridge), and it was so fun and nostalgic that more adults joined in than for any other song. If you plan to sing beyond the first verse, I encourage you to provide the lyrics to your audience, as a lot of folks only remember the beginning.

This song was written by Paul Francis Webster and Robert Harris for the 1967 Spider-Man TV show. To try alternate chords, or to read the full lyrics see Ukulele-Tabs (Dm/Gm/A7), Ukulele Boogaloo (Em/Am/B7), or Ultimate-Guitar (C/F/G7).


Spider-Man
G

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can
C

Spins a web, any size
G
Catches thieves just like flies
      D    C                    G

Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man


G
Is he strong? Listen, bud. He's got radioactive blood
C

Can he swing from a thread?
G

Take a look overhead
      D      C                    G

Hey there! There goes the Spider-Man

More Halloween Songs

Last year I collected a great big round up of slightly spooky songs, and I’ve come across a few more fun ones that I wanted to share.

For all these songs, you can click the song titles to see my sources. I altered the first song a little (green ghosts didn’t match my felts, and kids seem more rambunctious than delicious). Scroll down to the bottom for more about the felts.


5-grey-and-spooky-ghosts
Five Grey and Spooky Ghosts
Tune: Five Green and Speckled Frogs
G

Five grey and spooky ghosts
C

Doing what they love most
G                              D

Scaring some most rambunctious kids (Boo! Boo!)
G

One flew into the sky
C

Where it was nice and dry
G              D                G

Now there are four grey spooky ghosts (Boo! Boo!)

4... 3... 2... 1...


Flap Flap Flap Little Bats
Tune: Ten Little…
C

Flap, flap, flap little bats
G7

Flap, flap, flap little bats
C

Flap, flap, flap little bats
G7           C  

Early in the evening

Verses
Dance...
Wiggle...
Soar...
Sleep... early in the morning



haunted-barn
Old MacDonald Had a Haunted House
Tune: Old MacDonald
C                   F       C              G7      C

Old MacDonald had a haunted house, E - I - E - I - Boo!
                        F     C            G7      C

And in that house there was a bat, E - I - E - I - Boo!
C

With a flap flap here, and a flap flap there
C

Here a flap, there a flap, everywhere a flap flap
                    F       C              G7      C

Old MacDonald had a haunted house, E - I - E - I - Boo!

Verses
Owl... hoot...
Mouse... squeak...
Spider... creep...
Cat... meow...
Ghost... boo...



The Spooky Pokey
Tune: The Hokey Pokey
              C

You put your foot bones in, you take your foot bones out
                                                    G7

You put your foot bones in, and you shake them all about
G7

You do the spooky pokey, and you turn yourself around
                      C

That’s what it’s all about!

Verses
Hand bones...
Funny bone (elbow)...
Back bones...
Neck bones...
Skeleton...



Felt Story Extensions
The ghost felts are borrowed from my Ten Little Ghosts set, while Old MacDonald is an extension of the Old MacDonald guessing game. Owl, bat, and mouse templates are from Pattern Universe. I’d like to make a set of haunted houses as well, but for now we’ll sing it as “haunted barn.”

You can also use the barn/animal set with the rhyme, “Little ghost playing hide and seek… Are you in the orange barn? Let’s take a peek.”

For more Halloween felt ideas, check out this week’s Flannel Friday round-up over at Thrive After Three.

The Hokey Pokey

This old classic is best if you have a little room to move. However, we don’t have enough space to form a circle at my cozy programs, and standing in an uncoordinated cluster works just fine for us.

The Hokey Pokey is the ultimate in adaptability. You can invent a variation for any theme or concept you might have in mind. All you need is a set of clothing, items, or creature with enough body parts (no snakes or worms!) and off you go. I’m linking to a couple alternatives at the bottom, but there’s no limit to this one, and it’s so familiar that your audience can generally follow where you’re going with it.

Do you have a favourite variation? Please share it in the comments.


The Hokey Pokey
             C

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out
                                                  G7

You put your right foot in, and you shake it all about
G7

You do the hokey pokey, and you turn yourself around
                      C

That’s what it’s all about!

Verses
Left foot...
Right/left hand...
Head...
Whole self...



Other Variations Include
Animal Hokey Pokey
Campfire Pokey
Pirate Pokey
Winter Pokey

Old MacDonald

I usually sing Old MacDonald with puppets on my hands, feet and head to make the kids laugh, but once in a while I’ll pull out the ukulele instead. Classic storytime songs are fantastic tools for welcoming storytime newbies or drawing distracted little folks back to the circle. For variation, I might change the environment and animals, or connect it with a theme (ie Old MacDonald had a desert, forest, jungle, ocean).

For my fall storytime session, I’m again focusing on repetition-with-variation from week to week, so we’ll sing this song with puppets, felts, and using Steve Goetz’ fun new book Old MacDonald had a Truck.


Old MacDonald
C              F     C            G7      C

Old MacDonald had a farm, E - I - E - I - O
                        F     C           G7      C

And on that farm there was a cow, E - I - E - I - O
C

With a moo moo here, and a moo moo there
C

Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo
               F      C           G7      C

Old MacDonald had a farm, E - I - E - I - O



Old Macdonald Little Mouse

Felt Story Extension
I made a few extra barns for my Old MacDonald felt so I can uncover each animal like we’re playing Little Mouse. Next I’ll make a few non-farm animals to incorporate more surprise, variation, and vocabulary.

For patterns, I adapted this barn quiet book template, and this farm animal colouring sheet. Thanks to Kate at Felt Board Magic for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday.