Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog, a Singable Picture Book (and a dream come true!)

Posted on: October 18, 2012

Beside myself…so excited I can hardly type because one of my Singable Picture Book dreams has come true:

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I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary
Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet
ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4

The kids at school are going to LOVE this one!  Get your kazoos, slide whistles  and honking horns ready!

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Publisher’s webpage for the book:
http://www.charlesbridge.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=5706

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I’M IN LOVE WITH A BIG BLUE FROG
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary

I’m in love with a big blue frog,
A big blue frog loves me.
It’s not as bad as it appears
He wears glasses and he’s six foot three.

Well I’m not worried about our kids,
I know they’ll turn out neat.
They’ll be great lookin’ ’cause they’ll have my face,
Great swimmers ’cause they’ll have his feet!

Well I’m in love with a big blue frog,
A big blue frog loves me.
He’s not as bad as he appears,
He’s got rhythm and a PhD.

Well I know we can make things work
He’s got good fam’ly sense.
His mother was a frog from Philadelphia
His daddy an enchanted prince.

The neighbors are against it and it’s clear to me
And it’s prob’ly clear to you
They think value on their property will go right down
If the family next door is blue.

Well I’m in love with a big blue frog
A big blue frog loves me
I’ve got it tattooed on my chest
It says P.H.R.O.G. (It’s frog to me!)
P.H.R.O.G.

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Peter Paul & Mary sing,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svoVxWcGNzA

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This is the version I grew up with…from the Muppet Show
(Slightly different lyrics than PP&M)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_TZuOGs2jI

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Addendum 2/24/2013
The Peppermint Pipers SING I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog

My friend Cindy and I were talking about music as we often do (she is a wonderful singer, performer, producer, and teacher) and I mentioned my excitement about I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog becoming a Singable Picture Book and the forthcoming arrangement I was working out with the wonderful Paul Raiman.  Cindy reminded me that when she was in Jr. High School, she was a member of a group called The Peppermint Pipers and that I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog was one of the songs they sang and how much they enjoyed it, mixing kazoo, thumb piano, and tambourine into their arrangement.  She shared the recording with me and it is so terrific!  The Peppermint Pipers did the singing and all the playing, too.  Fabulous work for a group of kids in Jr. High!!

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Click here for info about The Peppermint Pipers (the link to their recording of “I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog” seems to be broken, but maybe they’ll get that fixed!):
http://www.marlowheights60sand70s.com/PEPPERMINTPIPERS/PAGE/index.html

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2009 Washington Post article about The Peppermint Pipers (including a link to their terrific recording of Marianne Faithful’s song “As Tears Go By”)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/09/AR2009030902622.html

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Addendum 3/13/2013

I stumbled over the same idea twice in two completely different places this week.

I’m studying up for an event that I’m getting to participate in early this coming June.  The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation is hosting their annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival and I’m honored to have been asked to share Singable Blues related picture books with children at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church, VA.  We worked out the song/book list from my existing repertoire, but I am interested in learning more and finding new Singable Picture Books to suit this delightful subject.

This was on my mind when…

On Monday, I got to visit Ms. Campbell’s class and we enjoyed I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog Two things about the song confuse the kids a little.  When the Big Blue Frog is said to have “Rhythm and a PhD,” kids generally want to know what a PhD is.  Great to know they are paying attention enough to ask about that!  If I were smart (and I plan to get smart any day now) I’d remember to give them a brief explanation of terms before hand).  They also want to know about the PHROG.  They’ll speak up and want to know what that’s all about.  I tell them how in the crazy English Language, PH makes an F sound, and how I think that the reason the songwriter put that into the song is because it gives a second example of how the singer (or narrator of the story) is willing to look at things in a different way.  She falls in love with a Big Blue Frog (to which one of the children responded, “and how many people do you know who fall in love with Big Blue Frogs?”) and she spells “frog” PHROG.

The same child said, “Also, I think it’s just to be funny.  Sometimes people make things up just to make people happy.”   From a child in Kindergarten!

The next day I was searching around for Blues Related Singable Picture Books and stumbled on a video featuring the late night talk show host and comic Conan teaching a group of school children about The Blues and working with these first graders to write a Blues song. Hilarity results, but he begins by telling them the purpose of the Blues as a musical art form, “Now, here’s what we do.  To write the Blues, you write about something that’s making you unhappy.  And by singing about something that makes you unhappy, it makes you feel better…”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7f26d-AIrM

Interesting that in two musical Blues, we get examples of how the existence of it makes us happy!  I also like how, though I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog is not traditionally a Blues song, it does fit Conan’s definition in that the song deals with a subject that is painful for some (interracial couples  not feeling welcome in their communities) in a way that has the potential to be humorous and to make people happy.

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Addendum 3/19/2013

My daughter Eloise interprets I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog in a picture she made:

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EPG Big Blue Frog 2013 03 2 blog
I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Art by Eloise Pauline Gleichenhaus (March 2003)

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Eloise’s Homage to Singable Picture Books We Love to Sing Together
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/eloises-homage-to-singable-picture-books-we-love-to-sing-together/

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SBWE GALLERY OF KID’S ART
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/praise-portraits-from-friends-of-sbwe/

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MARTHA GRAHAM QUOTE (MY FRIEND JILL AND ELOISE’S BUNNY ART)
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/something-martha-graham-said-and-my-friend-jill/

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Related Posts

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PETER YARROW SONGBOOK

A list of the Singable Picture Books from the Peter Yarrow Songbook series:
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-case-for-singing-with-children-from-peter-yarrow/

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The Folk Process and Peter Yarrow’s Songbook Series
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-folk-process/

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Peter Yarrow Songbook Series, the Importance of Singing for Others and the Folk Process
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-case-for-singing-with-children-from-peter-yarrow/

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FUNNY SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS

That’s Hilarious! A List of Singable Picture Books that’ll Crack You Up!
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/thats-hilarious-a-list-of-singable-picture-books-thatll-crack-you-up/

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TWO BLUES TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/two-blues-to-make-people-happy/

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KAZOO SOLOS IN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/a-few-kazoo-solos/

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