Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Sing Books With Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Illustrated Songs of 2014 (and a few others, too)

Posted on: December 5, 2014

I was given the honor of a request to select a list of my favorite Illustrated Songs published in 2014.  I’m always on the hunt for Illustrated Songs old and new, but putting this list together provided a wonderful opportunity to look and look again for Singable Treasures published just this year.  Looking again unearthed a couple of jewels I’d not run across before.  Most of my research and comments about each book in this list will be found in the posts about them.  Just click on the title for a book to arrive at a post I assembled about it.  Each post might include song history, videos, sing along tracks, personal musings and experience with the song, children’s artwork, audio clips and much more.  In a couple cases, I’ve written an additional comment directly below the book information.

The books are listed in alphabetical, not rank, order.  Not all these are in my regular repertoire, but they are all fantastic examples of Illustrated Song.

further adventures of owl and the pussycat
The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat
Music by Julia Donaldson
Words  by Julia Donaldson
Original Poem by Edward Lear
Illustrated by Charlotte Voake
ISBN 978-0141332888 (2013 hardcover)
ISBN 978-0141332970 (2014 paperback)

goodnight songs
Goodnight Songs
Words by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by 12 Award-Winning Picture book Artists
Music by John Proutt and Emily Gary

honeyky hanukah
Honeyky Hanukah
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
Illustrated by Dave Horowitz
With CD Recording by The Klezmatics

This is one of the exciting discoveries I made when doing extra research for this list.  I’m currently working to get sing-along music made and can’t wait to add it to the Sing Books repertoire.

hero in you2
The Hero in You 
Words and Music by Ellis Paul
Illustrated by Angela Padron

old lady who swallowed a dreidel
I Know and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
Adaptation by Caryn Yacowitz
Illustrated by David Slonim

This is another exciting discovery that resulted from putting this list toghter.  Not only is this an adorable Chanukah song, but a terrific opportunity to explore masterworks of art and geography, too.

itsy bitsy pumpkin
The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin
Adaptation by Brandy Cooke
Illustrated by Sanja Rescek

This adaptation of Itsy-Bitsy Spider is a cute sing-along for the preschool set.

may the stars drip down
May the Stars Drip Down
Words and Music by Jeremy Chatelain
Music by the Band Cub Country
Illustrated by Nikki McClure

my country tis song reveals the history murphy collier
My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights
Lyrics to “America, My Country ‘Tis of Thee” by Samuel Francis Smith (1831)
Book by Claire Rudolf Murphy
Lyrics by Various Artists
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Importantly, this song has its roots in 18th century England as “God Save the King.”

octopus's garden starr cort
Octopus’s Garden
Words and Music by Ringo Starr
Illustrated by Ben Cort

I knew that OCTOPUS’S GARDEN was coming out months in advance and eagerly anticipated it.  I love this book and it is one of my personal favorite Illustrated Songs in the Sing Books repertoire.

old manhattan has some farms cover
Old Manhattan Has Some Farms
Words by Susan Lendroth
Traditional Tune, Sing to the Tune of Old MacDonald
Includes a downloadable song from Caspar Babypants
Illustrated by Kate Endle

space song rocket ride
Space Song Rocket Ride
Words and Music by Sunny Scribens (using elements of the song AND THE GREEN GRASS GREW ALL AROUND)
Illustrated by David Sim
CD Performance by Mark Collins
Published by Barefoot Books 

what a wonderful world tim hopgood
What a Wonderful World
Words and Lyrics by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss
Illustrated By Tim Hopgood

Honorable Mentions
These are wonderful editions of wonderful songs.  I’ve created this Honorable Mention category as the titles in it are reissues of previously published titles.  

fox went out on a chilly night spier 2014
Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night (An Old Song), 2014 Reissue
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Peter Spier

This reissue of Peter Spier’s FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT is a MUST HAVE.  It’s such a great song and this new edition includes newly colorized pages.  In the first edition of the book, only half the pages were in color, the other half were black and white drawings (in Peter Spier’s incredibly detailed style).  In this edition, everything has been newly colored, every page.  It’s beautiful and an improvement on the nearly perfect first edition.


Over the Rainbow
Words and Music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Published by Imagine Publishing Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1623540449 (2014 boardbook edition)

The hardcover, original release of this book was a couple years ago, but I’m delighted to see that 2014 saw the release of the board book edition, so I could put this wonderful song (and gorgeous illustration) on the list.  This book, with its beautiful colors, and lyrics which have touched and inspired generations of dreamers all over, deserves to be poured over and sung again and again.

star spangled banner peter spier 2014
Star Spangled Banner, 2014 Reissue
Words by Francis Scott Key
Music by J. Stafford Smith
Illustrated by Peter Spier

This is a reissue of Peter Spier’s incredible illustration for this song.  It is very detailed with restored color. This edition includes all verses from the poem, not just the first verse which Americans know as their National Anthem.  The last few pages include a historical account, giving context for the song.

Published in the last half of 2013, these books are also marvelous and deserve a spot on a favorites list.

frosty the snowman wade zahares
Frosty the Snowman
Words and Music by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins
Performed by Kenny Loggins
Illustrated by Wade Zahares
ISBN 978-1-62354-012-8

Published in November 2013, so close to 2014 and this is a delightful rendition!  This is in the regular Sing Books repertoire, much loved by young and old.

silver moon jack prelutsky
The Silver Moon (Lullabies and Cradle Songs)
Words and Music by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Jui Ishida
Link to page with sheet music

Published in September 2013, this lovely book of poems and lullabies includes sheet music (plus more of his music can be found on his website) and one of the favorite new songs in the Sing Books repertoire, BIRD LULLABY, so sweet and charming!

maria had a little llama
Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita
Written and Illustrated by Angela Dominguez
(Henry Holt BFYR/Macmillan, $16.99)
Aug 20, 2013

Learn a little Spanish and delight in the wonderful Peruvian inspired pictures.

senor pancho had a rancho
Señor Pancho Had a Rancho (and Old MacDonald)
Words by René Colato Laínez,
Illustrated by Elwood Smith
(Holiday House, $16.95)
Jul 1, 2013

Senor Pancho and the sounds the barnyard animals make in Spanish live side-by-side with Old MacDonald in this hilarious (and sneakily educational) Illustrated Song.

Terrific Music Related (but not singable) Titles Published in 2014

gus and me keith richards2
Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar
By Keith Richards and Theodora Richards

mister and lady day
Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her

By Amy Novesky
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
(Harcourt Children’s Books/HMH, $16.99)

tito puente
Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del Mambo
By Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael López
(Rayo/HarperCollins, $17.99) 978-0-06-122783-7

frogs play cellos
Frogs Play Cellos (and other fun facts)
By Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot
Illustrated by Pete Oswald and Aaron Spurgeon

Related Posts and Links

Playing by the book
Reviews of kids’ books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do


Singable Picture Books for Winter
Some of these are sung at Christmastime, but this is a list of songs about Winter that you can sing all season long!


A Collection of Singable Picture Books and Singable Picture Book Videos put out by Barefoot Books

The Singable Picture Books of John, Paul, George, and Ringo

The Singable Picture Books of Woody Guthrie



Singable Picture Books of the Great American Songbook and Michael Feinstein’s Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook

A list of Illustrated Songs that convey really good ideas and great advice.


The Singable Picture Books of Jack Prelutsky



An list of  singable poems from compilations of poetry for children

A list of individually illustrated poems that have been set to music and can be sung


A fun list of books to sing and celebrate Hanukkah and other Jewish Holidays and Traditions

Music Inspired and Music Education Picture Books
Because of the ease of “Pinning” my PINTEREST list for Not Necessarily Singable but Music Inspired and Music Education Picture Books has overtime become more comprehensive than the list on my blog (please not, however that, though some have appeared in my blog, most are books I’ve discovered online)


A list of spooky, fun, funny and evocative songs for our favorite October Holiday

Celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty, being green, and environmental stewardship with this lovely list of Singable Picture Books:

A list of songs to inspire us to look around us in a garden and enjoy, observe, appreciate and preserve the natural world around us

Sing Books With Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Illustrated Songs of 2014 (and a few others, too)

2 Responses to "Sing Books With Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Illustrated Songs of 2014 (and a few others, too)"

Emily, You ROCK! This is like my pefect Christmas list – thank you so much for taking the time to pull this together. I appreciate it *enormously*

Dear Zoe, Thank you for asking me to put the list together! It was a lot of fun and a relished opportunity to seek out hidden treasures. Since I spend so much time looking, I was amazed to have missed some of them. The two Hanukkah songs are incredibly wonderful and have gained instant places in my regular repertoire. Thanks again and I look forward to staying in touch. Best Wishes and Happy Holidays, Emily

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SBWE DAILY SONG 10/18/2018 SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/18/2018 DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW (as Illustrated by Jenny Cooper), an Illustrated Song BITLY LINK DESCRIPTION I LOVE this illustration of DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW.  I acquired it in 2018 and it sat on the shelf for a long time before I was able to really look at it, document it, and decide how to use it. This will certainly be the illustration that I use for singing the song.  There are 4 verses in this, each one as enjoyable as the next. And the pictures, all with animals, are simultaneously sensitive and hilarious.  These pictures have a great sense of humor without making fun of the animals. Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/18/2018
And then there’s Maude! @outdoorukulele
SING BOOKS WITH EMILY Saturday, October 20, 2018 10:30-11am, Reston Regional Library Reston Regional Library 11925 Bowman Towne Dr. Reston, VA 20190 Come sing favorite illustrated songs and some fun spooky ones for Halloween!
SBWE DAILY SONG 10/17/2018 SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/17/2018 LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH, an Illustrated Song book/ BITLY LINK LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH is an important song. It's a prayer and a call to action. Sometimes we hope for things to get better, but this song reminds us that if things are going to get better, it's up to each one of us to take an active role in making that happen. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. I have arranged this song for my own use and you can find a song sheet with ukulele or guitar chords in the Sing Books with Emily blog link above that is dedicated to this illustrated song. I have tried to simplify this song to make it less of an oversung anthem and make it more of an easy to sing folk song. This song can be sweet hearted and simple. Let's sing it together and remember that if we are to have a more peaceful world, country, and community, we've got to let peace flourish in our own hearts first. A special shout of thank you to teacher Ms. Chloe Yazdani for the wonderful gift of the lazer cut PEACE earrings. The perfect accessory for this song! Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/17/2018
SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/15/2018 THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN TOSSED UP IN A BASKET, an Illustrated Song BITLY LINK THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN TOSSED UP IN A BASKET is still one of my favorite rhymes to sing. I love that Old Woman. I love that she flies up to the sky with a job to do, that she earnestly answers your question, and she invites us to come along with her. And I love that she is a witch. A good witch. This is one of the first rhymes that I wanted to sing, found a recording for, adapted the tune to my own liking, and developed my own chords for accompanying the singing. I was proud of my tiny achievement and I still enjoy sharing the results. There was not an individual illustration for this Old Woman, but there were may single page treatments in compilations of rhymes. So I picked my favorite ones to make a serviceable book to use for singing this little gem to kids. Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/15/2018

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