Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: Wee Sing

(Blogjob tags: action songs with hand motionschildren’s songsnursery rhymesongbook with CDsongbooks with cassettessongs kindergarten children can playWee Sing series.)

A Fair Trade Book
Title: Wee Sing
Author: Pamela Beall and Susan Nipp
Date: 1977, 1986
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan
ISBN: 0-8431-0676-X
Length: 62 pages
Illustrations: drawings by Nancy Klein
Quote: “These are Mother’s knives and forks. This is Mother’s table. This is Mother’s Looking glass. And this is baby’s cradle.”
This is a book of simple, often silly, songs for small children. Many of these songs are traditionally accompanied with hand motions. Most are true folk songs that have evolved through oral tradition, so the words and tunes given here may not be the ones you learned as a child. For example, many people don’t know that there’s an alternate verse to “I’m a Little Teapot” that begins “I’m a little snowman.”
All the songs are easy to sing; most stay within a one-octave range. Tunes are printed as melodies only, with chord letters. Kids can accompany these songs on autoharp, xylophone, melody bells, etc.
All kindergartens and day care centers should own copies of this book. It’s useful to parents, too. As usual with picture books for children, the age group most likely to appreciate listening to the book will probably be younger than the ones shown in the pictures. 
But there's no need to stop here. Pamela Beall really started something with this cheap little booklet. The series began with a cheap one-color booklet and cassette tape, and grew into big, clunky, full-color books with digital recording technology. Amazon currently lists 290 items in the Wee Sing series, including "Bible Songs," "Songs for Halloween," "Dinosaur Songs," "American Songs," "Around the World," and more. Some of those items are of course duplicate listings and music recordings (you don't have to sing the songs to the child, or children!). Still, even collecting only the books in this series would take some time and money.
The 1977 edition with the one-color cover has actually gained collection value; if you have to have it, send $15 per copy. If a reprint (with the original cover, or a full-color cover) will do, send $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment. Early Wee Sing books were small and thin, and you could probably get at least a dozen into a package for a total of $65. "A Fair Trade Book" means I'll send Beall $1 for each of the $5-per-copy books you buy here, more for the collectors' editions.