Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Puff (the Magic Dragon), a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: May 6, 2010

When my children were very young, it was a natural thing for me to sing book that were made from songs, but the  idea of “Singable Picture Books” as a special genre worth exploring did not occur to me until this book magically presented itself a couple of years ago,


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

When I first started singing books to kids, “Puff the Magic Dragon” was ALWAYS on the list.  It was always a favorite and it was one of the few that I knew by heart without having to make an effort to learn it.

At the time, I was singing every week in my son’s first grade class.  One week I had discovered a few new books to try out, so “Puff” did not make the trip to the school.  A very cute and spunky girl in the class asked, “Aren’t you going to sing ‘Puff?'”  I said, “Well, I thought maybe after so many weeks that you’d had enough of ‘Puff’ for a while.”  She said, “Mrs. G,” the kids at the school call me Mrs. G (as my married name is Gleichenhaus!), “you can never have enough ‘Puff!'”

So cute!  Whenever I see the book (or the little girl named Sophie), I think, “You can NEVER have enough ‘Puff!'”

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PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON
Words and Music by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee

Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff,
and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff’s gigantic tail,

Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flags when Puff roared out his name.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.

One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.

Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee

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

*
“Puff (the Magic Dragon)” was first released by Peter, Paul & Mary on their 1962 album “Moving” (Song 5),

Link to the original recording here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PIF9MU/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk5

*
Read an interesting wiki article about “Puff the Magic Dragon” here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puff,_the_Magic_Dragon

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*
The book comes with a CD of Peter Yarrow singing the song with his daughter Bethany, and it is a sweet addition to the book.  The CD, and I LOVE it when Singable Picture Books offer this option, also has an instrumental track so you can sing-along solo.  This particular track, however, is VERY slow (taking 4 minutes to sing the song).  If you don’t mind singing the song at a slow tempo, the sing-along track that comes with the book is great.

*
If you’d like a more snappy tempo (this one clocks in at less than 3.5 minutes), try this sing-along karaoke track (that exactly matches with the book’s lyrics):
http://www.amazon.com/Karaoke-Puff-The-Magic-Dragon/dp/B000V2DG0S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1272833377&sr=1-1

*
An even snappier tempo is offered on the CD which somes with,

Solos for Kids (Vocal Collection)
Compiled by Louise Lerch
(The printed sheet music for “Puff the Magic Dragon” is on pages 23-31.  The instrumental sing-along is Track 17 on the CD with vocal demo on Track 6.  This book and CD also contains Singable Picture Book favorites, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,” “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” “On Top of Spaghetti,” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” A terrific book!)

The track for “Puff the Magic Dragon,” fits the book exactly and is zippy enough to sing the whole song in 3 minutes!  No kid will fall asleep with this one!

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

The last page of Eric Puybaret’s illustration features notes from the Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton.  Mr. Lipton writes that it wasn’t until AFTER he wrote the poem (it’s a great story how the song came to be written, which you get a little bit of in his note and more in the wiki article, linked below) that he learned that there really is a place called “Hanalei Bay” which features a lava cave fit for a dragon, resting on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.  WOW!!


Hanalei Bay, Kauai Island, Hawaii

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*
PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON
is featured in:

Sleepytime Songs

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

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IDZEa7jSt8

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Inspired by the song…

*

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)

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Just a comment on how special books can be.  I have two copies of this book.  The first was found on the bookstore shelf and it is special to me as it was the first one I used for singing with gatherings of children.  The second copy was a gift from my friend Cindy.  She inscribed it to me.  I opened it the other day (which inspired me to write this post) and it was a wonderful sweet surprise to read her writing there, a gift all over again.  It is amazing to be able to share the special gift of the melody, the words, the pictures, and the kind thoughts of a friend in Singable Picture Books.  I hope that everyone who reads this will pick up a Singable Picture Book and do the same…share, give, sing, enjoy.

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Addendum 4/23/2014

PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON pairs beautifully with  WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER.

Both song say,

“DON’T LOSE THE MAGIC.”

*
MAGIC: PUFF AND THE ASTRONOMER: DON’T LOSE THE MAGIC
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/puff-and-the-astronomer-dont-lose-the-magic/

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

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Addendum, 12/21/2014

finn keep your imagination forever 2014 12 18
KEEP YOUR IMAGINATION FOREVER!
Art by Finn, December 2014

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Addendum 8/15/2015

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Pablo Picasso

More here:
THE DRAGON, THE ASTRONOMER AND THE ARTIST
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/the-dragon-the-astronomer-and-the-artist/

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Related Posts

*
Peter Yarrow and “The Folk Process”

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-folk-process/

*
Two Books Participating in “The Folk Process”

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/two-books-participating-in-the-folk-process/

*
ILLUSTRATED COLLECTIONS OF CHILDREN’S SONGS WITH MUSIC
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/illustrated-collections-of-childrens-songs-with-music/

*
Greenwich Village (music that defined a generation), a terrific, inspiring documentary
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/greenwich-village-music-that-defined-a-generation-a-terrific-inspiring-documentary/

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PETER YARROW SONGBOOK SERIES

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

*
SLEEPYTIME SONGS
A Singable Picture Book in the Peter Yarrow Songbook Series
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/sleepytime-songs-the-peter-yarrow-songbook-a-singable-picture-book/

*
ILLUSTRATED SONG/BOOK SETS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/songbook-sets/

*
KEEP YOUR IMAGINATION FOREVER
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/keep-your-imagination-forever-profound-kid-art/

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