Frere Jacques variations (with felts)

There are so many variations on Frere Jacques that I split these two felt-adapted songs into their own post. If you have clip-art or felt images that fit the descriptors, I Am Hungry can be nicely participatory, and encourage some discussion around foods we eat. I’m hoping to add more options to this set over time.

This translation and transliteration of Two Tigers is via Embracing Diversity, the Burnaby Public Library’s fantastic multilingual song and rhyme repository. I practiced singing the Mandarin words for over a week so I could attempt a semi-reasonable pronunciation, and posted the words in both languages at storytime so the grown-ups in attendance could sing along with me. Listen to it here

For felters, this free colouring sheet is the pattern for my tigers.  And  for beginner players, remember you can ignore the chords here entirely and just strum away on C the whole way through.

I Am Hungry
C  G7 C         G7  C

I am hungry! (I am hungry)
      G7      C           G7      C

What should I eat? (What should I eat?)
           G7         C                G7         C

Think I’ll have some pizza (Think I’ll have some pizza)
        G7   C            G7   C

Without any meat (Without any meat)

Borscht... with purple beets
Cocoa... with lots of heat
Fresh Fruit... for a treat
Ice Cream... cold and sweet
Sandwich... on whole wheat
___________(any food)... that sounds neat

Two Tigers
Liăng Zhī Lăo Hŭ / Two Tigers
C     G7   C            G7   C

Liăng zhī lăo hŭ, liăng zhī lăo hŭ
    G7  C        G7  C

Păo de kuài, păo de kuài
       G7      C              G7      C

Yì zhī méi yŏu ěr duo, yì zhī méi yŏu yĭ ba
     G7  C         G7  C

Zhēn qí guài, zhēn qí guài!

C G7 C        G7 C

Two tigers, two tigers
  G7 C      G7 C

Run fast, run fast
        G7   C            G7    C

One without ears, one without a tail
   G7 C        G7 C

How strange, how strange!


Frere Jacques (and variations)

There are dozens of songs based on Frere Jacques, and these are the ones I’d be most likely to use at storytime. Click the titles to see my sources, and stay tuned for a couple related felt stories next post.

Some of my favourite variations are better with hand gestures (Roly Poly, Fruit Salad), actions (Walking, Walking), shakers (Popcorn Kernels), scarves (Make a Circle), or felts (Two Tigers, I Am Hungry), so I’d be inclined to introduce many of these without the ukulele the first time we sing them in a storytime series.

Note that while this version includes a lot of transitions, you can also play the entire song strumming a single chord.  It’s the easiest song ever.  Try it with C.

Frere Jacques
C  G7  C          G7  C

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
    G7  C        G7  C

Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
       G7      C            G7    C
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
     G7    C          G7   C

Ding dang dong, ding dang dong

Bear is Sleeping
C    G7  C             G7 C

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping
      G7   C           G7   C

Bird flew south, bird flew south
             G7      C                   G7      C

Squirrel is storing acorns, squirrel is storing acorns
   G7  C         G7  C

In her mouth, in her mouth

I Hear Thunder
C  G7   C         G7   C

I hear thunder, I hear thunder
      G7    C         G7    C

Hark don’t you? Hark don’t you?
        G7     C                 G7     C

Pitter patter raindrops, pitter patter raindrops
    G7   C          G7  C

I’m wet through, so are you!

C  G7  C            G7   C

I see blue skies, I see blue skies
    G7  C        G7  C

Way up high, way up high
      G7     C               G7     C

Hurry up the sunshine, hurry up the sunshine
       G7   C          G7   C

We’ll soon dry, we’ll soon dry

C   G7  C       G7  C

Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
   G7  C      G7  C

I see you! I see you!
            G7     C                G7   C

I see your button nose, I see your tiny toes!
    G7  C     G7   C

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Popcorn Kernels
C  G7   C            G7   C

Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels
   G7   C      G7   C

In the pot, in the pot
            G7           C

Shake them, shake them, shake them
             G7           C
Shake them, shake them, shake them
      G7   C         G7   C

Till they pop! Till they pop!

Roly Poly
C G7  C      G7 C

Roly poly, roly poly
   G7 C      G7 C

Up up up, up up up
      G7   C          G7   C

Roly roly poly, roly roly poly
      G7   C          G7   C

Down down down, down down down


Walking Through the Forest
C        G7          C               G7          C

Walking through the forest, walking through the forest
     G7    C         G7    C

What do I hear? What do I hear? (hiss)
          G7     C                 G7      C

I think I heard a snake, I think I heard a snake
      G7   C          G7   C

Hiss hiss hiss, hiss hiss hiss

Other animals and their sounds

Walking Walking
C  G7   C            G7   C

Walking walking, walking walking
    G7   C       G7   C

Hop hop hop, hop hop hop
         G7      C                G7      C

Running running running, running running running
    G7  C        G7  C

Now we stop, now we stop

Similar: Run run run

Where is the Letter
C     G7  C         G7  C

Where is “A?” Where is “A?”
      G7 C         G7  C

There it is, there it is
           G7          C                     G7         C

What’s the sound that “A” makes? What’s the sound that “A” makes?
    G7  C        G7  C

Aah aah aah, aah aah aah

Other letters and their sounds

Where is Baby
C     G7  C            G7  C

Where is ______? Where is ______?
       G7    C          G7    C

There she/he is! There she/he is!
          G7      C                 G7     C

We’re so glad to see you! We’re so glad to see you!
    G7 C        G7 C

Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!

Where is Thumbkin
C     G7  C              G7  C

Where is thumbkin? Where is thumbkin?
    G7 C       G7 C

Here I am, here I am
        G7     C             G7      C

How are you today sir? Very well, I thank you
    G7 C      G7 C

Run away, run away

Other Variations Include
Fruit Salad
Leaves are Twirling
Tops and Bottoms Handwashing Song
I Am Popcorn
Let’s Go Riding
Make a Circle
Snowflakes Falling
Where is Puppet

Farmer Brown Had Five Green Apples (and variations)

This mathematical harvest song was requested by my colleague Kate, the author of the pumpkin variation below. I’ve made a couple simple felts to use alongside, as a visual aid is particularly helpful when adding or subtracting with little ones (or reminding distracted adults whereabouts in the song we are). My friend Francesca encourages discussion and emotional awareness when she sings this, asking the children how else they might eat their apples (excitedly, quickly, sadly, etc).

If you’d like to de-Halloween the pumpkin version, sing “cooked” instead of “carved.” Then generate a little thought by asking what that pumpkin might be cooked into. You can listen to it via our song inspiration, Sharon Lois and Bram.

Farmer Brown
Farmer Brown Had Five Green Apples
C                                  G7           C

Farmer Brown had five green apples hanging on a tree
                                   G7           C

Farmer Brown had five green apples hanging on a tree
           F           C             G7           C

Then s/he plucked one apple and s/he ate it hungrily
                           G7             C

Leaving four green apples hanging on the tree...

Farmer Brown Had Three Orange Pumpkins
Farmer Brown Has Three Orange Pumpkins
C                                       G7          C

Farmer Brown has three orange pumpkins sittin’ by a tree
                                        G7          C

Farmer Brown has three orange pumpkins sittin’ by a tree
         F           C                G7        C

So s/he grabbed one pumpkin and s/he carved it happily
                               G7             C

Leaving two orange pumpkins a sittin’ by the tree...

For more storytime felting ideas, see this week’s Flannel Friday roundup at One for the Books

Take Me Out to the Ball Game (and variations)

I’d never thought of Take Me Out to the Ball Game as a storytime song, but colleagues of mine have convinced me otherwise. As only the chorus is well known, that’s all I’ve included here. Song credits belong to Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer from 1908.

I learned These are the Toes of My Baby way back in library school, and have sung it at many happy baby and toddler storytimes. It’s tickly and playful, and makes everyone smile. Jbrary has it too, if you’d like a little inspiration. Take Me out of the Bathtub is from one of Alan Katz’ books of humorous piggyback songs. The complete song is longer than I would use at storytime so this is just the first verse, but you can listen to it all here.

These chords are slightly simplified from the Bytown Ukulele songbook. You can also play in A or C, or ignore the 7s if you prefer standard chords.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
G                   D7
Take me out to the ball game
G                     D7
Take me out with the crowd
E7                       A7
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I never get back
        G                       D7
Let me root, root, root for the home team
    G                      C
If they don't win, it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
        A7  D7   G
At the old ball game

These are the Toes of My Baby
G                        D7
These are the toes of my baby
G                         D7
These are the toes of my guy/gal/child*
E7                              A7
These are their feet and their tiny knees
I can’t help it, I’ll give them a squeeze
            G                     D7
And they've got two arms just for hugging
     G                   C
And hands that clap and wave
But it’s their eyes, ears, nose and their chin
      A7     D7      G
That really draws me in

*vary pronouns as appropriate, male, female, or neutral

Take Me Out of the Bathtub!
G                   D7
Take me out of the bathtub
G                   D7
Take me out of the suds
E7                            A7
I've been here soaking since half past two
I feel so sudsy and wrinkle-y too
      G                  D7
Oh, I washed all over my body
   G                   C
My head, my toes, in between
I used one, two, three bars of soap
        A7      D7  G
Take me out... I'm clean!

Other Variations Include
Take Me Out to the Barnyard by Judy Hall
Take Me Out to the Ocean

Down on Grandpa’s Farm (and variations)

Yes, it’s another song about animals and their many sounds (like Old Macdonald, When Ducks Get Up in the Morning, I Love My Rooster, or Little Cat). There sure seem to be a lot of these around, and they’re mostly about farms. Of course, you can switch things up to sing about animals in other places (ie Grandpa’s beach, Grandpa’s forest, Grandpa’s desert). You can listen to Grandpa’s Farm via KCLS.

Going for a Walk is based on a song my colleague Marilyn wrote to promote BC Summer Reading Club, the province-wide reading program here in British Columbia. I added a few more verses to explain SRC when I promote it at elementary schools this month. So far the kids think it’s funny. I tell them that I can’t remember how SRC works, but I have a song to remind me, and then I stop between each verse, “remembering” more details to share with them. If you repeat “going for a walk” instead of “walking on the wild side,” in the first verse and tweak the prize line as appropriate, then you could probably use this with similar reading incentives in your own geographic area.

Down on Grandpa’s Farm
We're on our way, we're on our way
We're on our way to Grandpa's farm

We're on our way, we're on our way
On our way to Grandpa's farm

C                                  G7          C
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a wooly white sheep
                                   G7         C
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a wooly white sheep
The sheep, it makes a sound like this, Baa baa
The sheep, it makes a sound like this, Baa baa

(Repeat Chorus)

Grandpa's farm: Farm animal names and sounds
Grandpa's beach: Ocean animal names and sounds
Grandpa's woods: Forest animal names and sounds

Going for a Walk
(for BC Summer Reading Club 2017)
Going for a walk, going for a walk

Going for a walk today

We're walking on the wild side

At our local library

Going to get some books, going to get some books
Going to get some books today

And magazines and comics
At our local library

Going to play some games, going to play some games
Going to play some games today

And maybe even win a prize
At our local library

Going to read a bit, going to read a bit
Read a little every day

So I can win a medal
From my local library

Repeat 1st verse

Clementine variations

I wouldn’t consider Oh My Darling, Clementine to be a storytime song, but it is definitely a popular tune for storytime variations. My favourite of this set is a song I learned as Picked an Apple from KCLS and Picked a Strawberry from my colleague Lindsey. It’s perfect for spurring discussion and audience participation, particularly when it’s growing season and we can talk about our gardens or local farms.

I’ve previously posted See You Later Alligator to the tune of Happy Birthday. Clementine is an alternative tune to match the same words.

Picked an Apple

Picked an Apple

Picked an apple, picked an apple

That was growing in the sun

Then I washed it, and I ate it
        C7             F

Then I picked another one

Any fruit or vegetable (ask the kids for suggestions)


I'm an airplane, I'm an airplane

Flying up into the sky

Flying higher, flying higher
      C7                  F

As I watch the clouds go by

I'm an airplane, I'm an airplane
See me flying all around

Flying lower, flying lower
        C7               F

Till I land down on the ground

See You Later, Alligator

See you later, alligator

In a while, crocodile

Give a hug, ladybug
        C7         F

Blow a kiss, jellyfish

Take care, polar bear

Out the door, dinosaur

See you soon, big baboon
         C7          F

Wave goodbye, butterfly

What’s the Weather?

What’s the weather, what’s the weather

What’s the weather, everyone?

Is it windy, is it cloudy
          C7                F

Is there rain, or is there sun?

Other Variations Include
Found a Peanut
There are Seven Days in a Week

Felt Story Extensions
Any set of weather-related felts or images would nicely supplement What’s the Weather.

I made a handful of popular fruits to accompany Picked an Apple, and I’d like to add a few silly options like ice cream and teddy bears to make the kids howl with joyful outrage.  Preschoolers are excellent at shouting out suggestions without much assistance, but toddlers may not have the vocabulary yet to participate without visual cues to assist them.  I made this set primarily for them.

For more felt-related storytime ideas, see this week’s Flannel Friday, hosted by Shawn at Read, Rhyme & Sing.

Here We Go Looby Loo (and variations)

Looby Loo is a traditional movement song with a similar pattern to The Hokey Pokey. The verses are identical, though sung to a different tune. If you have room in your storytime space, try walking in a circle during the chorus, then stand in place for the verses.

Storytime-ready variations include This is Big by Melissa Depper and We Put Our Umbrellas Up by Heather McPhail. As usual, click on song titles to see my sources for particular lyrics.

Here We Go Looby Loo
Here we go looby loo

Here we go looby light

Here we go looby loo
G7                 C

All on a Saturday night

You put your right hand in

You take your right hand out

You give your hand a shake, shake, shake
G7                 C

And turn yourself about

Repeat chorus before singing each new verse

Sally Go Round the Sun
Sally go round the sun

Sally go round the moon

Sally go round the chimney tops
G7          C

Every afternoon

Here We Go Up Up Up
Here we go up up up

Here we go down down down

Here we go back and forth
G7                        C

And here we go round and around

This is Big
This is big, big big

This is small, small, small

This is short, short, short
G7                   C

This is tall, tall, tall

This is fast fast fast

This is slow, slow, slow

This is yes, yes, yes
G7              C

This is no, no, no

We Put Our Umbrellas Up
We put our umbrellas up

We take our umbrellas down

We give our umbrellas a shake, shake, shake
G7                  C

And turn them all around

Here We Go Walking Slow
Here we go walking slow

Here we go walking fast

Here we go walking round and round
G7                   C

Round the block and back

We hold hands walking slow...
We climb steps so slow...
We watch for cars going slow...