Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Little Drummer Boy, an Illustrtated Song, a Simple Gift

Posted on: December 24, 2010


Little Drummer Boy
Words and music by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone
Illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
(“Little Drummer Boy” is featured in the Scholastic Video Collection)


Little Drummer Boy
A Christmas Festival, the Harry Simeone Chorale
Original Version Album Cover

“Simple Gifts,” the idea, the theme, and the song keep jumping out at me this Holiday Season…a Singable Picure Book of the song, a conversation with a friend, and at the White House.

I was reminded again what a nice gift a simple song can be when chaperoning my daughter’s first grade class to a nursing home last week where the children sang a cute set of 5 seasonal songs and brought light to the day of every person there.

This morning I was cleaning the kitchen while listening to a playlist of favorite Christmas albums when Johnny Mathis crooned “The Little Drummer Boy.”  And I realized that here is a story about a boy, wonderfully told from the boy’s sweet hearted point of view, sharing the simple gift of a song on his drum.  What a lovely thing to do.



Scholastic Video Collection:
Ezra Jack Keats’ The Little Drummer Boy…and 4 more holiday stories

I LOVE Ezra Jack Keat’s illustrations for his Singable Pictutre Book version of “Little Drummer Boy,” profound deep colors, simple, and beautiful fitting the song.


A surprisingly YOUNG Christmas carol (written in 1941), here is online song history from Wikipedia:

Find a “study guide” from Scholastic, here:

I grew up watching and loving the Rankin Bass animated story!

Sing-along YouTubes:





The Little Drummer Boy
Words and Music by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Other Posts featuring SIMPLE GIFTS

In the Bleak Midwinter, The February Blizzard of 2010, A Singable Poem, A Simple Gift

In the Bleak Midwinter, A Singable Poem, A Simple Gift

The Little Drummer Boy, A Singable Picture Book, A Simple Gift

Simple Gifts at the White House:

Simple Gifts, a Singable Picture Book:

Related Posts


A Collection of Singable Picture Books that celebrate CHRISTMAS!


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