Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Peter Yarrow Songbook Series and the Case for Singing with Others

Posted on: November 30, 2009

Peter Yarrow has begun publishing The Peter Yarrow Songbook, so far a collection of books all illustrated by Terry Widener: Favorite Folk Songs, Sleepytime Songs, Song for Little Folks and Let’s Sing Together.  Publishing these songs in the form of picture books allows a convenient vehicle for introducing and enjoying these songs with, not just young ones, but anybody who loves music.


Favorite Folk Songs
Compiled by Peter Yarrow
Music by Various Artists, Arranged by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Collection of lullabies, illustrated from the:
The Peter Yarrow Songbook Series


Sleepytime Songs

Compiled by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Collection of lullabies, illustrated from the:
The Peter Yarrow Songbook Series

lets sing together yarrow
Let’s Sing Together
Compiled by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Collection of Folk Songs, Illustrated from the:
The Peter Yarrow Songbook Series


Songs For Little Folks
The Peter Yarrow Songbook
Illustrated by Terry Widener

In each introduction, he gives voice to the value of singing songs and sharing them with children.

In “Favorite Folk Songs,” he explains, “Singing these songs today allows us to experience the history and spirit of times past and also makes us feel closer to one another.”

In “Sleepytime Songs,” a book of lullabies, he writes, “In the sound of your voice they will hear your hopes, your dreams, and sense the depth of your love for them…They will never forget that you have cared enough to put the ordinary concerns of life aside to spend this special time with them.”

In “Let’s Sing Together” he explains that his first job was at a summer camp for sick children and that “When we sang together, magically, a sense of closeness emerged, as fear, teasing , and concern about the children’s illnesses melted away.”

In the “About the Author” section of each book is this thought from Mr. Yarrow, answering what would he most like to leave behind, “I would give them these songs that have helped me come to realized what, for me, is really important in life – people, love, work, and service to each other.  I believe that all children can be helped to discover what’s important to them in their lives, through these songs.  It’s magic, in a way, but it seems to happen every time!”

I have not yet learned what it is exactly, but something about singing lifts us up out of ourselves.  When the singing begins, something special happens. Our hearts open up, our spirits lift, and the quality of our lives improves.

I look forward to celebrating and exploring with you the reasons why the simple act of singing songs (or being sung to) is such a  joyous, important and meaningful activity.

Peter Yarrow’s name is also associated with some wonderful books published by Sterling Publishing, Imagine Publishing and others, including:


Day is Done
Words and Music by Peter Yarrow
Illustration by Melissa Sweet


Dinosaur Pet
Inspired by the Music and Lyrics of the Song “Calendar Girl” by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Children’s Lyrics by Marc Sedaka
Illustrated by Tim Bowers

don't laugh at me - glin dibley
Don’t Laugh at Me
Words and Music by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin
Afterword by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Glin Dibley
This book features printed music and a sing-along CD.


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


It’s Raining, It’s Pouring 
Words and Music by Peter Paul and Mary
Illustrated by Christine Davenier
This book features a recording of Peter Paul & Mary’s performance of the song.


The Marvelous Toy
Words and Music by Tom Paxton
Illustrated by Steve Cox
(This book is a far and away favorite with the Kindergarten set. It comes with a wonderful CD that has Tom Paxton singing on one track with a separate instrumental track, including a clearly played melody line, so you can sing solo…a wonderful edition!)


The Night Before Christmas
Poem by Clement C. Moore
Performed by Peter, Paul and Mary
Solo Performance of Music Setting by Noel PAUL Stookey
Music by Noel Paul Stookey
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret
(This book comes packaged with a CD recording of Noel Paul Stookey’s performance of “Night Before Christmas” as well as a reading by Mary Travers, and Peter, Paul and Mary’s recording of “A’Soalin”)


Over the Rainbow

Words and Music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret


Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody
(Based on the Song by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton)

Story by Romeo Muller
Words and Music by Peter Yarrow
Illustrations by Fred Wolf and Chuck Swenson (Based on the TV Special)


Puff the Magic Dragon
Words and Music by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret


Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Words by Jack Norworth
Music by Albert Von Tilzer
Illustrated by Amiko Hirao
Performed by Carly Simon
This edition gets a GOLD STAR for including the FULL song (both verses and chorus) and a fabulous recording of Carly Simon and her deligthful arrangement she made for Ken Burn’s documentary Baseball.


Waking Up is Hard to Do
Music and Lyrics by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Children’s Lyrics by Neil Sedaka
Illustrated by Daniel Miyares


When You Wish Upon a Star
Music by Ned Washington
Words by Leigh Harlaine
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret

Related Posts

Peter Yarrow and “The Folk Process”

Two Books Participating in “The Folk Process”


Greenwich Village (music that defined a generation), a terrific, inspiring documentary


A list of the Singable Picture Books from the Peter Yarrow Songbook series:




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