Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Circle Game, a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: April 7, 2013

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circle game mitchell deines
The Circle Game
Words and Music by Joni Mitchell
Illustrated by Brian Deines

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THE CIRCLE GAME
Words and Music by Joni Mitchell

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you’re older must appease him
And promises of “someday” make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him, “Take your time it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down”

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

And go round and round and round
In the circle game

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This is a wonderful song, beautifully illustrated.  The pictures by Brian Deines are gorgeous (those colors!) and perfectly compliment the lyrics.

This book does not seem to be widely available in the US, just in Canada.  I ordered it from Amazon Canada.  This is surprising to me since the book and song are so lovely.

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Addendum 4/20/2013

I have been introducing this song to the children by saying that THE CIRCLE GAME is a song about growing up.  The boy in the song grows up and he seems to always be looking forward.  Wishing, hoping, dreaming for what subsequent years will allow him to do.  But the song suggests that “we are captive on the carousel of time,” and the time is going to keep on moving regardless of our wishes, hopes and dreams.  Especially in light of the recent events in Boston, I take this all to suggest that we LIVE FOR THE MOMENT and enjoy every moment we have for what it is.  I clearly remember someone telling me as a child that I should enjoy, relish and revel in BEING a child.  When book comes out of the Sing Bag, I try to deliver the same message.  Enjoy being a kid while you’re a kid.  This, NOW, is what you get.

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Joni Mitchell sings THE CIRCLE GAME on her album LADIES OF THE CANYON:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9VoLCO-d6U

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CIRCLE GAME with interviews:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FcgPLCtYwM

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circle game mitchell ill DEINES-Brian 2

Two page spread of artwork for CIRCLE GAME by illustrator Brian Deines

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indy children's museum carousel

The carousel at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

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I read that Joni Mitchell wrote THE CIRCLE GAME after meeting Neil Young and hearing his song SUGAR MOUNTAIN:


www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVajUY-hBVI

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Joni Mitchell’s webpage for this song, includes lyrics and song history:
http://jonimitchell.com/music/song.cfm?id=39

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Publisher’s press-release PDF webpage for this book (includes images of two-page spreads artwork, link to video interview, and bios)
http://www.dancingcatbooks.com/downloads/pressreleases/The%20Circle%20Game%20Online%20Media%20Package.pdf

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Publisher’s webpage for this book:
http://www.dancingcatbooks.com/titles/thecirclegame.shtml

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Related Posts

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TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC, A SINGABLE PICTURE BOOK
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/teddy-bears-picnic-a-singable-picture-book/

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JONI MITCHELL
SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS OF JONI MITCHELL
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/joni-mitchell-in-singable-picture-books/

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FOLK POP

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CAROUSELS I HAVE LOVED (Pinterest Board) for TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC and The CIRCLE GAME
http://pinterest.com/singbooksemily/carousels-i-have-loved/

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