Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Inch by Inch, The Garden Song, A Singable Picture Book

Posted on: June 20, 2010

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Inch by Inch (The Garden Song)
Words and Music by David Mallett
Illustrated by Ora Eitan
Published by Scholastic, New York, 1995
ISBN 0-439-26501-0

“Inch by Inch” is a beautiful song and Ora Eitan’s illustrations are at the same time simple and profound.

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Wikipedia article about David Mallett:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mallett

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A small bio of illustrator Ora Eitan, here:
http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/12057/Ora_Eitan/index.aspx

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Find out more about singer/songwriter David Mallett here:
http://davidmallett.com/

David Mallet’s website says, ” His tune, The Garden Song, is one of America’s most popular folk songs, having been recorded more than 150 times and sung around the world.”

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MANY wonderful recordings have been made of this song, including:

Peter Paul and Mary:
http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Song-LP-Version/dp/B00122BBSU/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1276354992&sr=1-8

John Denver recorded “The Garden Song,”
http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Song/dp/B00138ALXY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1276353795&sr=8-3

David Mallett himself:
http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Song/dp/B00107DRY8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1276353901&sr=8-2

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David Mallett sings the song live:

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The great Pete Seeger sings “The Garden Song,” live (slightly different words):

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John Denver sings this beautiful song on the Muppet Show!

(Season 4, Episode 1 of the Muppet Show)

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Inch by Inch: the Garden Song
Words and Music by David Mallett

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground

Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm from below
Till the rain comes tumbling down

Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones
We are made of dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own
Cause the time is close at hand

Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature’s chain
Tune my body and my brain
To the music from the land

Plant your rows straight and long
Temper them with prayer and song
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her loving care

Old crow watching hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree
In my garden I’m as free
As that feathered thief up there

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it take is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground.

Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
‘Till the rain comes tumbling down.

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“Inch by Inch: the Garden Song” is one of the songs we selected to be part of
Oh, What a Beautiful Day: Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret.”

Completing my Song Craft Worksheet is part of my process for preparing a song for performance:


 Emily’s Song Craft Worksheet

Because the first section of the Song Craft Worksheet involves background research on the song, I’ll share the answers with you so you can know about the song, too.  The more about the song you know (both concrete facts and less tangible artistic choices), the more “authority,” and heart and soul you can put into the singing and sharing of the song with others.  If you are interested in improving your artistic abilities for singing songs in any capacity, just simply filling out the Song Craft Worksheet is a great place to start!  After the background research, the rest of the Song Craft Worksheet gets personal…I won’t bore you with that.

1 Q: Who wrote the words?
1 A: David Mallett

2Q: Who wrote the music?
2A: David Mallett

3Q: When was the song written?
3A: 1975

4Q: At what point in the lyricists’ and composer’s career was the song written?
4A: Beginning

5Q: What is the song from?
5A: His first album “David Mallett”

6Q: If from a show, what character sang it?
6A: NA

7Q: If from a show, from what situation does the song arise?  Why does the character sing the song?  What function does the song/character play in the story?
7A: NA

8Q:  What other contextual elements of the song are significant?
8A: This is a great American Folk Standard

9Q: Was the song written for a particular singer?  Why?
9A: I assume he wrote it for himself to sing and play

10Q: If not from a show, why did the songwriter write the song?
10A: …to express love for the earth and the need to be a good steward.

11Q: What do you feel the lyricist is trying to say?
11A: Bless the Earth and take care of her.

12Q: Does the song tell a story or just express feelings or ideas?
12A: This song expresses feelings and ideas, plans and intentions

13Q: Who else has recorded this song:
13A: Arlo Guthrie, David Mallett, Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, John Denver (and many others)

The rest of the questions require VERY personal answers and I will spare you those!

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Mrs. M and Aiden’s Class, February 2011

A scene from INCH BY INCH: THE GARDEN SONG

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Related Posts

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THE SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS OF JOHN DENVER
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/the-singable-picture-books-of-john-denver/

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OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY: SING BOOKS WITH EMILY, THE CABARET
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-books-with-emily-the-cabaret/

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PETE SEEGER
The Singable Picture Books of Pete Seeger
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/pete-seeger-the-power-of-song/

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EARTH’S BEAUTY AND BOUNTY, STEWARDSHIP AND BEING GREEN

Celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty, being green, and environmental stewardship with this lovely list of Singable Picture Books:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/singable-picture-books-with-a-green-theme/

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MUPPETS
ILLUSTRATED SONGS OF THE MUPPETS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/illustrated-songs-of-the-muppets/

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