Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Sleeper of a Story Songbook! - Sleepytime Songs Book Review

"To your children, your voice, spoken, sung or whispered, will be the most comforting and beautiful music of all, and provide memories that will last well into their adulthoods." - The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs
The holiday season often evokes feelings of nostalgia. Memories of childhood permeate our souls. Music and singing played a large part in my life growing up. My mom was and still is organist at our small church. I think I sang my first solo when I was only 4 or 5 years old, and if I remember correctly, it was a Christmas song. When I was in grade school, my mom took lessons on the acoustic guitar. She played for sing-a-longs at the library, at church and during Girl Scout events. We sang mostly folk and traditional songs, and I learned many of them by heart. Those were the days, and I have many happy, fond memories.

The children's music world today is a booming business. The likes of Laurie Berkner, They Might Be Giants and other new artists have brought creativity and fun to the kid's music market. But the traditional folk music that has been around for generations still has a place in the home music collections as well. Peter Yarrow (of the 1960's band Peter, Paul and Mary) has just recently released two story songbooks titled The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs and The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Favorite Folk Songs. Following on the heels of his popular, bestselling Puff the Magic Dragon, these new songbooks are full of multi-generational musical gems.

We received a copy of The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs courtesy of Sterling Publishing. It is quite impressive and truly a great bargain. A whopper of an illustrated picture book, it includes a corresponding music CD in addition to guitar chord accompaniment diagrams and a section of historical facts about the songs in the back of the book. Twelve lullabies were chosen for the book and the lyrics to each of the songs have been beautifully illustrated by Terry Widener. Many of the illustrations include an image of a sleeping child. The CD is a pure folk recording, with Yarrow and his daughter, Bethany singing accompanied only by two acoustic guitars. Their voices blend wonderfully together in the comforting, lulling melodies. Songs included in both the book and CD are as follows:

All Through the Night • Puff, the Magic Dragon • Ol’ Blue • All the Pretty Little Horses • Hush, Little Baby • Kum Ba Ya • The Water Is Wide • Down in the Valley • All My Trials • On Top of Old Smokey • Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot? • Brahms Lullaby

Looking for a last minute gift for the holidays? Buy this one to share with children, parents, grandparents, or friends. Few products are appropriate for all generations. This is one of the few.
The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Terry Widener. Sterling Publishers (November 2008), 48 pages, ISBN 9781402759628