Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Big Bell and the Little Bell, a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: February 21, 2011

At the end of last year, I got the most wonderful gift of “The Big Bell and the Little Bell” from Ms. Actil’s class.  Seeing this book and hearing the song was a revelation.  It is a wonderful song and a beautiful book with a sweet moral to-boot!

The Big Bell and the Little Bell” has become a class favorite.


The Big Bell and the Little Bell
Words and Music by Martin Kalmanoff
Illustrated by Alastair Graham
(This book is packaged with a CD with two recordings of the song!)

The Big Bell and the Little Bell was a wonderful gift from Ms. Anctil’s class last year.  The book’s illustrations are gorgeous, detailed paintings in jewel toned colors.  Tracking down the music for this song was a real challenge and I finally got a copy from a musical acquaintance, Sandy Marrone (her contact information is on my “Sing-Along Recources” page: https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-along-materials/), who has a tremendous collection of what would now be considered “vintage” sheets of music.

The song was written in 1954 by Martin Kalmanoff,

Martin Kalmanoff in the 1980s.


“Big Bell and the Little Bell” sheet music cover, published in 1954.

Julius La Rosa made a hit song with his 1954 recording. His recording is packaged with the book.


Photo by Duane Prokop

Mr. La Rosa has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (http://hwof.com/star/television/julius-la-rosa/1217), and he still sings the song today.

“Among the songs La Rosa continues to perform is one he recorded many years ago, right after his dismissal from the Godfrey shows, called “The Big Bell and the Little Bell.” It’s a fable about two bells: a big bell that goes “bong, bong, bong” and a little bell that only goes “boink.” The king chooses the little bell over the big bell to play at his wedding. Perhaps a story a bit synonymous with his own relationship with Godfrey, it is a song that is close to La Rosa’s heart. “It’s charming and delightful,” he said, words that just may mirror his effect on his audience.”
From The Las Vegas Review-Journal, May. 24, 2009: http://www.lvrj.com/living/45953752.html

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

The Big Bell and the Little Bell
Words and Music by Martin Kalmanoff

Oh, a big bell sounds like a mighty gong,
And a little bell just makes a tiny “clink.”
But those who make the biggest noise
Aren’t always as important as they think!

Oh, long ago in a distant land
On the day they were crowning the king,
The great big bell went, “Bong, bong, bong”
But the little bell just went, “Bing.”

The big bell said to the little bell,
“I don’t see why you bother to ring,
‘Cause I make a great big,  ‘Bong, bong, bong’
And all you can do is go, ‘Bing!'”

The king said, “Stop the big bell!
And heed what I have to say.
Go and tell the little bell
I command him to play on my wedding day.”

So remember that making a great big noise
Is not the important thing!
‘Cause the king got a headache from the, “Bong, bong, bong”
But he loved the little bell that just went, “Bing!”

Yes, a great big bell makes a mighty sound
And a little bell just makes a tiny, “Clink.”
But as you can see those who make the biggest noise
Aren’t always as important as they thing.

So remember that making a great big noise
Is not the important thing!
‘Cause the king got a headache from the, “Bong, bong, bong”
But he loved the little bell that just went, “Bing!”

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

The Big Bell and the Little Bell is not a traditional Christmas Song and no holiday is mentioned in it (though it does include a wedding), but this song, with it’s bells a-ringing feels holiday and would be a nice addition to your holiday bookshelf and sing-along list…

**********************
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WISE OLD OWL, AN ILLUSTRATED AND SINGABLE MOTHER GOOSE NURSERY RHYME
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The Songs We Sang at Tuckahoe Elementary (and Escuela Claremont) in the 2012-2013 School Year
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GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK

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CHRISTMAS

A Collection of Singable Picture Books that celebrate CHRISTMAS!
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