Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Rubber Duckie, a Song Illustrated in a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: January 25, 2011

I think Rubber Duckie is one of those rare, perfect songs.  It is short and sweet and it is deceptively simple.  In this little song is just about anything a kid needs to know about friendship with sweet, innocent, openhearted love.  The song is also quite well written.  It is jubilant and fun.  The song can be beautifully sung, but does not require operatic training to do so.

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rubber duckie SPB for SBWE cover only
Rubber Duckie
Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss
Book Assembled for Sing Books with Emily

This book is for home and classroom use only.

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“Rubber Duckie” (written by Jeffrey Moss in 1970) is one of those songs that brings instant sunshine to a room.  I open the book to this song and everyone in the room starts to glow.  “Rubber Duckie” is a favorite among favorites!

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RUBBER DUCKIE
Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss

Rubber Duckie you’re the one
You make bath time lots of fun
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you
Doo dee do dee do

Rubber Duckie, joy of joys
When I squeeze you, you make noise
Rubber Duckie, you’re my very best friend, it’s true!
Oh…

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
I find a little fellow who’s
Cute and yellow and chubby
Rub-a-dub-dubby

Rubber Duckie, you’re so fine
And I’m lucky that you’re mine
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of
Rubber Duckie, I’d like a whole pond of
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you!

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“Rubber Duckie” is also printed and illustrated in,

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The Songs of Sesame Street in Poems and Pictures

Words (and Music) by Various Artists
Illustrated by Normand Chartier

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rubber duckie normand chartier
Rubber Duckie
Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss
Illustrated by Normand Chartier
From: The Songs of Sesame Street in Poems and Pictures

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The music for “Rubber Duckie” is printed and illustrated in,

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The Sesame Street Songbook (64 Favorite Songs Featuring Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Puppets)
Words, music, and arrangements by various artists
Illustrations by David Prebenna

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rubber duckie David Prebenna
Rubber Duckie
Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss
Illustrated by David Prebenna
From: The Sesame Street Songbook (64 Favorite Songs Featuring Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Puppets)

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“Rubber Duckie” on the Sesame Street YouTube Channel:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh85R-S-dh8

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Little Richards sings “Rubber Duckie” on  Sesame Street YouTube Channel:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWCEG6lV0ek

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A sing-along karaoke video for “Rubber Duckie,” here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhGhgmfF27E

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“Rubber Duckie” was written by songwriter Jeffrey Moss in 1970.

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Here is a Wikipedia bio of Jeffrey Moss:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Moss

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A biography of Jeffrey Moss on MuppetCentral.com:
http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/tributes/jeff_moss.shtml

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MuppetCentral.com is a terrific resource for info on all things MUPPET:
http://www.muppetcentral.com/

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A terrific Muppet Wiki article about Jeffrey Moss (including pictures and links to Muppet Wiki articles about each of his songs:
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Jeff_Moss

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A Muppet Wiki article about “Rubber Duckie”:
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Jeff_Moss

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Kid Jamz has a terrific, jazzy instrumental version of “Rubber Duckie,”
http://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Duckie/dp/B0016LET4K/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1273270955&sr=8-1-fkmr1

This is a long track, though.  The instrumentals go through the song three full times (each time nicely arranged and played by different instruments in the jazz band).  You can always use sound editing software to isolate the last time through for a snappy little sing-along track.

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Some interesting Wiki info about the song “Rubber Duckie” here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_Duckie

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I just love that the first recording of the song was by Ernie, voiced by Jim Henson, and that “the song became a surprise mainstream hit, reaching #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970.”
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_Duckie)

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The story behind the tune
http://www.sesameworkshop.org/our-blog/2013/01/16/rubber-duckie-the-story-behind-sesames-iconic-bath-time-tune/

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I’m very excited that “Rubber Duckie” will be one of the songs in “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 you know about the song (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 VERY personal…don’t worry!  I won’t bore you with that.

1 Q: Who wrote the words?
1 A: Jeff Moss

2Q: Who wrote the music?
2A:  Jeff Moss

3Q: When was the song written?
3A: 1970

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

5Q: What is the song from?
5A: Sesame Street

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

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:  Ernie is in his bathtub and is describing the items in his tub for bath taking…and introduces his bath time friend:  Rubber Duckie!

8Q:  What other contextual elements of the song are significant?
8A: This song is like SUNSHINE!  This song is about LOVE and ENJOYMENT in someone else.

9Q: Was the song written for a particular singer?  Why?
9A: Jim Henson voiced Ernie in the original recordings of this song.  I imagine Mr. Moss wrote this song with him in mind.

10Q: If not from a show, why did the songwriter write the song?
10A: NA

11Q: What do you feel the lyricist is trying to say?
11A: When you really love someone, you can’t wait to see them at every opportunity.  The song is about a completely unselfish friendship.  It describes, in its way, a beautiful friendship between two “characters” who love and enjoy each other’s company without any pretense whatsoever.  It is innocent and unpretentious love and friendship.  Wonderful.

12Q: Does the song tell a story or just express feelings or ideas?
12A: This song both tells a story of bath time and looking forward to spending time with a friend, and expresses the joy and love Ernie feels in that friendship.

13Q:  Look Up Newspaper Articles and Reviews
13A: I could not locate a review specifically for “Rubber Duckie,” but considering its longevity, children’s love for the song, its use by so many artists over the years, and its being one of the top songs of 1970, I’d say its a pretty darn good song!

14Q: Who else has recorded this song:
14A: Bob McGrath, Jane Krakowski, Little Richard (and many others you can find on iTunes and Amazon.com

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

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Addendum 9/12/2013

I’ve been occasionally sharing the song RUBBER DUCKIE with kids in classrooms and libraries.

We’ve been singing it all this time with its single page in:

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Rubber Duckie
 (Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss) from

The Songs of Sesame Street in Poems and Pictures

Words and Music by Various Artists
Illustrated by Normand Chartier
Published by Random House/Children’s Television Workshop, New York, 1983
ISBN 0-394-95245-6

The page in the Sesame Street book is adorable, don’t get me wrong!  But, it loses a little punch singing the whole song with a single page.

But we’ll be singing this delightful song a lot more often now, since I finally made up a little booklet for singing the song, with a new page for every verse (or so),

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rubber duckie SPB for SBWE cover only
Rubber Duckie
Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss
Book Assembled for Sing Books with Emily

This book is for home and classroom use only.

I think the kids are going to really enjoy it.  RUBBER DUCKIE is one of my favorite songs of all, so cute, charming, and relate-able!

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Related Posts

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OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY: SING BOOKS WITH EMILY, THE CABARET
The song list for Emily’s Singable Picture Book Cabaret:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-books-with-emily-the-cabaret/

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SESAME STREET
Sesame Street in Singable Picture Books
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/sesame-street-in-singable-picture-books/

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VALENTINE’S DAY
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this collection of Singable Picture Books which express one person’s love for another.

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/singable-picture-books-celebrating-love-for-valentines-day/

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SING-ALONG RESOURCES AND PRINTABLE MATERIALS
This is the place to find Print Materials Created by Emily, Service Providers, Vendors, Audio and Video to help you SING-ALONG!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-along-resources-2/

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I LOVE RUBBER DUCKIE
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/i-love-rubber-duckie/

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Rubber Duckie, a Song for Troop 2740 Girl Scout Songbook
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/rubber-duckie-a-song-for-troop-2740-girl-scout-songbook/

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