Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

ABC, Twinkle Star, Baa Blacksheep, Singable Books and All the Fix-ins

Posted on: December 17, 2009

Did you know that you know that…

  • ABC
  • Baa, Baa Black Sheep
  • Twinkle Star

… all use the same tune?  It’s true!

The tune itself is an old European air.  I read in one place that it is originally German, in another that it is French.

The tune seems first to have been seen in print in 1770′s France, for singing a poem, “Vous dirai-je Maman.”  A parody of it, using this tune, is still sung today by children in France.

Click this link to find an audio clip fo the song and more information about the tune: http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/the-origin-of-twinkle-twinkle-little-star/

Wherever the tune was first composed, it ranks with the many wonderful old compositions that we use to suit our needs and musical desires (like the wish to sing a particular poem), among them the tunes we know as Greensleeves and the one used to sing Yankee Doodle.  Even a young Mozart famously wrote variations on this (ABC/Twinkle Star/Baa Blacksheep/Vous dirai-je Maman) tune  in the 1780′s.

Let’s start with the ABCs.


Click the following link for the Sing Books with Emily “ABCs Sing-Along” Poster Card:
ABC’s sbwe sing along card

Or join me at a Sing Books gathering and sing-along with my ABC book,

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ABCs

Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

If you are interested in a copy of this book, please email: SingBooksWithEmily.att.net, or lave a comment to this post.

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ABCs
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by PAINLESS LEARNING PLACEMATS

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Alphabet Cut-Out Letters ABC (by Eeboo)
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
What a fun way to sing your ABC with these beautifully illustrated, colorful, cut-out letters! 

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I found this info on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet_song:
“The song was first copyrighted in 1835 by the Boston-based music publisher Charles Bradlee, and given the title “The A.B.C., a German air with variations for the flute with an easy accompaniment for the piano forte”. The musical arrangement was attributed to Louis Le Maire (sometimes Lemaire), an 18th century composer. This was “Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1835, by C. Bradlee, in the clerk’s office of the District Court of Massachusetts”, according to the Newberry Library [1], which also says, “The theme is that used by Mozart for his piano variations, Ah, vous dirai-je, maman.”[2] This tune is more commonly recognizable as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.”

**********************

I’m so excited to announce that Sing Books with Emily now has its own YouTube Channel and its first set of 5 songs in the Sing Books with Emily Video Series.

Today, let’s sing the ABCs (Sing Books with Emily Video Series)

Sing Books with Emily: The ABCs

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pclfJ27UDs

Visit the Sing Books with Emily YouTube Channel, here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/singbookswithemily

**********************

It is also fun to sing the ABC Song backwards, the ZYX’s and finish it off with “Next time let’s all go to Texas.”  The kids (and adults) always laugh!  I first heard Ralph Covert sing the ZYX’s on his album “Ralph’s World,” at the end of the ABC song, Track 14.

It’s fun to “Start at the very beginning” (or the very ending) and sing the ZYX’s at “Sing Books with Emily” gatherings.

You can sing-along too, with my “Sing Books with Emily ZYX’s, Let’s All Go to Texas” poster.

Click the following link for the Sing Books with Emily “ZYX’s Sing-Along” Poster Card:
zyx’s sbwe sing along card


Sing the ZYX’s along with me!  Just click on the link and scroll through list to find “ZYX’s Let’s All Go to Texas”:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/zyxs-eleg-2010

It was fun to create a ZYX book for sing-along,

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 ZYXs, a Singable Picture Book
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

If you are interested in a copy of this book, please email: SingBooksWithEmily.att.net, or lave a comment to this post.

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Sing Books with Emily:  The ZYXs


www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqgXi_aR-lo
Recorded and directed by Judy Simmons
Related Post:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/the-sing-books-with-emily-youtube-channel-and-video-series-today-lets-sing-the-zyxs/

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A note on ZYXs performance (4/30/2012):

I think it’s fun to tell the kids that, “We’re going to start at the very ending…” and then after we sing the ZYXs, I say, “OK, now we’re going to sing the ZYXs backwards. Can anyone tell me what that is?” And someone will say, “The ABCs” and they’ll think that is funny. I love it every time!

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Whole shelves of libraries and bookstores are devoted to ABC books, but here are a few of my favorites:

*

Charley Harper ABC
Art by Charley Harper
Published by AMMO Books

*

ABC, National Museum of American History
By Florence Cassen Mayers
Illustrated with items from Washington, DC’s National Museum of American History

*

Ed Emberley’s ABC
See photo spread and details of the book, here:
http://www.lab-curio.com/book/ed/ABC.html

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G is for One Gzonk (ABC Flash Cards)
Sing to the Tune of “ABC Song
Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi (AKA Tiny DiTerlooney)

*

The Handmade Alphabet
Sing to the Tune of “ABC Song
Written and Illustrated by Laura Rankin

*

Museum ABC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Illustrated with details of artwork from the collections of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

*

My Own ABC Book
Sing to the Tune of ABC Song
Illustrated by Lois Lenski
Published by Platt & Munk (1922)

*

On Market Street
Words by Arnold Lobel
Sing to the tune of ABCs or Presidents Name Song for Sing Books with Emily (just leave out the Presidential March) or even “Tempus adest floridum”
Illustrated by Anita Lobel

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The Utter Zoo
Sing to the Tune of ABC Song
Poem by Edward Gorey
Illustrated by Edward Gorey

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March 2011

After a conversation with the wonderful teacher Ms. Antil about using the American Sign Language Alphabet to help kids learn their ABCs and using the hand signs as an interesting activity in conjunction with singing the ABCs ZYXs and A-You’re Adorable, I decided it would be fun to create poster cards to help kids learn their American Sign Language Alphabet with ABC and ZYX poster cards:

*

 ZYXs with American Sign Language Alphabet
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Click here to view or print my
ZYX card with American Sign Language Alphabet:
ZYX letters caps WITH SIGN
Sing the ZYX’s along with me!  Just click here:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/zyxs-eleg-2010

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ABCs with American Sign Language Alphabet
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Click here to view or print my
ABC card with American Sign Language Alphabet:
letters caps WITH SIGN

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ABCs: Sign Language Alphabet
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by PAINLESS LEARNING PLACEMATS

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Sign Language Alphabet Card
By Hammerpress Letterpress

**********************

The rhyme “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” is a standard in most Mother Goose anthologies.  The rhyme, first published in the mid-1700′s, was written as  a complaint about the poor (as in the poor boy who lives down the lane) oppressed at the hands of the rich (giving up his wool to the king, the master, the dame).

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Baa!  Baa!  Black Sheep
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

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Sing Books with Emily: Baa Baa Blacksheep


www.youtube.com/watch?v=d79HcTlpAgw
Recorded and directed by Judy Simmons
Related Post:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-sing-books-with-emily-youtube-channel-and-video-series-today-lets-sing-baa-baa-blacksheep/

*

Baa Baa Black Sheep
Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Iza Trapani
Illustrated by Iza Trapani

*

Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk?
Traditional Tune (Sing to the Tune of
Baa!  Baa!  Black Sheep“)
Words Adapted by Phillis Gershatoe
Illustrated by Giselle Potter

**********************


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Traditional Tune
Poem by Jane Taylor
Illustrated by Sylvia Long
This book contains the full text of the poem.

“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is a poem by Jane Taylor, written in 1806.  I found the full text in “Childcraft, Volume 1, The Poems of Early Childhood.”  The full text fits the tune:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun is set,
When the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark!
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

*

Twinkle Little Star
Traditional Tune
From the Poem by Ann and Jane Taylor
Illustrated by Lesley Harker
To view or print this book, click here:
twinkle little star eleg sbwe

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Sing Books with Emily: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star


www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EplRuCWj1s
Recorded and directed by Judy Simmons
Related Post:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/the-sing-books-with-emily-youtube-channel-and-video-series-today-lets-sing-twinkle-twinkle-little-star/

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If you read carefully, you will find an irreverent take on this poem in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”  The Mad Hatter sings “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat.”

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.


This famous illustration of the Mad Hatter singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat” is from illustrator John Tenniel.

I created a Sing-Along poster for singing “Twinkle Little Bat.”  Enjoy!

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Twinkle Little Bat SBWE Sing-Along Poster Card
Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Lewis Carroll
Poster Card by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Click here to view or print the poster card:
TWINKLE LITTLE BAT SBWE sing along card

Sing “Twinkle Little Bat” with me:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/twinkle-little-bat-eleg-2010

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat
Published in: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Traditional Tune, Same as “ABC Song” and “Baa Blacksheep
Words by Lewis Carroll
Book Assembled by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Click here to view or print the book:
twinkle bat book
Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat along with me, here:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/twinkle-little-bat-eleg-2010

Illustrations of this parody can be found in many versions of the “Alice” book.  It is also included in the Lewis Carrol edition of “Poetry for Young People”


Poetry for Young People, Lewis Carroll
Edited by Edward Mendelson
Illustrated by Eric Copeland

A number of the poems in this compilation (and in “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Through the Looking Glass“) can be sung (including “Lobster Quadrille,” “Beautiful Soup,” and “How Doth the Little Crocodile”).

Each edition in the fantastic “Poetry for Young People” series of books contains a wonderful introduction about the author and often include informative notations about individual poems.

**********************

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Sing Books with Emily:  Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat


www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_66tzYQ-QQ
Recorded and directed by Judy Simmons
Related Post:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-sing-books-with-emily-youtube-channel-and-video-series-today-lets-sing-twinkle-twinkle-little-bat/

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*
I Love this Madrigal ABC, Vintage Sesame Street.  Maybe a new tune to learn for singing the letters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDDFh7Un3Ps

*
Madrigal ABCs, a Singable Picture Book Video (and possible alternate tune)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/madrigal-abcs-a-singable-picture-book-video-and-possible-alternate-tune/

**********************
9/12/2012

We sang the ABCs and ZYXs in Ms. Everett’s Kindergarten class this past week and afterwards a little boy raised his hand and said “Can I teach you how to sing the ABC Song forever?”  I said “Of Course!”  and he sang,

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Now I know my A B

C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Now I know my A B

(And on and on)

I thought HOT DOG now that’s clever!

***********************

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Related Posts

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USEFUL TUNES IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/useful-tunes-in-the-public-domain/

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SONG/BOOK SETS

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/songbook-sets/

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TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/twinkle-little-star-the-song-the-list/

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TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE BAT

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/twinkle-twinkle-little-bat-a-singable-poem-with-pictures-and-a-play-on-a-classic/

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass-singable/

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SING BOOKS WITH EMILY VIDEO SERIES

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/video-series/

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SINGABLE PLACEMATS

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/singable-placemats/

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ANIMAL ALPHABET, AN ILLUSTRATED MUSIC VIDEO BY KEY WILDE & MR. CLARK
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/illustratedvideoswildeclark/

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GISELLE POTTER
The Singable Picture Books of Giselle Potter
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/giselle-potter-spbs/

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