Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Most Requested Illustrated Songs (and an even longer list of Honorable Mentions)

Posted on: March 26, 2017

This is a list of kid’s top favorite, most requested songs.  I will admit that some of my personal favorites are not on this list (WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER, for example), but these are the illustrated songs that, through many thousands of performances with kids, I’ve learned they like the best.

The absolute number one requested song is TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS.  That one’s just got some kind of extra special magic.

(To find the CROWD PLEASER HONORABLE MENTIONS list, just ctrl + F to find, or scroll down)

backwards birthday party
The Backwards Birthday Party
Music and Lyrics by Tom Chapin and John Forster
Illustrated by Chuck Groeninck

big bell little bell
The Big Bell and the Little Bell

Words and Music by Martin Kalmanoff
Illustrated by Alastair Graham

fairy went a marketing
A Fairy Went A-Marketing
Poem by Rose Fyleman
Illustrated by Jamichael Henterly
Musical Setting can be found by Ginger Sands on her collection “The Gift of Make Believe

fifty nifty states portrait for song book cover
Fifty Nifty States
Words and Music by Ray Charles
Book Assembled by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

froggie went a courtin eleg 4 sbwe
Froggie Went a-Courtin’ for Limberjack and Sing Books with Emily
Traditional Words and Tune
Adaptations by ELEG for Sing Books with Emily
Illustration by Mary Blair from My First Sing-A-Song Book, 1966

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


Grandma’s Feather Bed (John Denver’s)
Words and Music by Jim Connor
Adapted and Illustrated by Christopher Canyon


I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary
Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet
ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4


I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Words and Music by John Rox
Illustrations by Bruce Whatley


Late for School

Words and Music by Steve Martin
Illustrated by C.F. Payne
Published by Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010
ISBN 978-044-6-55702-3


Puff the Magic Dragon
Words and Music by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Original Story by Robert L. May
Written for Montgomery Ward Department Store in 1939
Illustrated by Denver Gillen
Set to Music by Johnny Marks (1948)

take me home country roads
Take Me Home, Country Roads

Words and Music by John Denver, Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff
Words Adapted by Christopher Canyon
Illustrated by Christopher Canyon
ISBN 978-1584690726


Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Words by Jack Norworth
Music by Albert Von Tilzer
Illustrated by Amiko Hirao
Performed by Carly Simon


There’s a Train Out for Dreamland
Music and Lyrics by Frederich H. Heider and Carl Kress
Illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
ISBN 978-0-06-058022-3


These songs may not get the most requests, but kids still cheer whenever I pull them out of the bag.  Kids love the following songs, they just don’t ask for these songs quite as much as the ones above.


All God’s Critters
Words and Music by Bill Staines
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2009
ISBN 987-0-689-86959-4

amoeba hop
Amoeba Hop
Words and Music by Christine Lavin
Illustrated by Betsy Franco Feeney

beethoven's wig (read along symphony)
Beethoven’s Wig
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Words by Richard Perlmutter
Illustrated by Maria Rosetti


The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Traditional Words and Tune
Arrangement by Kathy Boyd and Mark Gensman
Illustrated by John Kanzler

blowin in the wind
Blowin’ in the Wind
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Jon Muth

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

coat of many colors parton boynton-hughes
Coat of Many Colors
Words and Music by Dolly Parton
Illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes


Dinosaur Pet
Inspired by the Music and Lyrics of the Song “Calendar Girl” by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Children’s Lyrics by Marc Sedaka
Illustrated by Tim Bowers

don't laugh at me - glin dibley
Don’t Laugh at Me
Words and Music by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin
Afterword by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Glin Dibley
This book features printed music and a sing-along CD.

do re me do a deer 4 sbwe cover only
Do Re Mi / Doe a Deer
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
From the Musical THE SOUND OF MUSIC
For classroom use only.


Dry Bones (Classic Books with Holes)

Classic Books with Holes Series
Traditional Spiritual Words and Tune
Illustrated by Kate Edmunds

five little gefiltes
Five Little Gefiltes
Traditional Tune (Sing to the tune of “Five Little Ducks“)
Words Adapted by Dave Horowitz
Illustrated by Dave Horowitz


Forever Young
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Paul Rogers

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 one is mostly owing to the wonderful instrumental sing-along I have for it.  The music makes this song incredibly fun and kids love it.

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Susan L. Roth


I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Traditional Words and Tune
Edited by Ann Owen
Illustrated by Sandra D’Antonio

Jingle Bells 4 SBWE limberjack
JINGLE BELLS (for SBWE and Limberjack)
Song by James Pierpont
Arranged by ELEG for SBWE and Limberjack Horse
To view or print this sheet, click here:
Jingle Bells 4 SBWE limberjack


Knick Knack Paddy Whack

Traditional Words and Tune
Arrangements by Mark Collins
Illustrations by Christiane Engel

kookaburra cantata
Kookaburra (Cantata Learning)
Traditional Words and Tune
Retold by Steven Anderson
Illustrated by Dan Taylor


The Marvelous Toy
Words and Music by Tom Paxton
Illustrated by Steve Cox


Me and My Animal Friends
Words and Music by Ralph Covert
Illustrated by Laurie Keller


Monster Mash
Words and Music by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi
Illustrated by David Catrow
ISBN 978-0545214797

my favorite things warhola
My Favorite Things

Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Illustrated by James Warhola

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

one wide river barbara emberley
One Wide River to Cross (also One More River)
Traditional Words and Tune
Adapted by Barbara Emberley
Illustrated by Ed Emberley


Over the Rainbow
Words and Music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Published by Imagine Publishing Inc.
ISBN 978-1-936140-00-8 (2010 hard cover edition), ISBN-13: 978-1623540449 (2014 boardbook edition)


Over the River and Through the Wood
Traditional Tune
Poem by Lydia Maria Child
Illustrated by Matt Tavares
Post for this special illustration:


Port Side Pirates
Words and Music by Oscar Seaworthy
Illustrated by Debbie Harter
Published by Barefoot Books

preamble by lynn ahrens cover
Preamble Song

Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Red Red Robin Lori Lee Stultz Cover
Red, Red Robin
Words and Music by Harry Woods
Illustrated by Lori Lee Stultz


Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Word and Music by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie
Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

sing raposo lichtenheld 2
Sing…sing a song
Music and Lyrics by Joe Raposo
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld


Snuggle Puppy

Words by Sandra Boynton
Music by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford
Illustrated by Sandra Boynton

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 

2014 edition with new cover art
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

swing RLS julie morstad
The Swing
Poem by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Originally Published in A Child’s Garden of Verses
ISBN 978-1897476482
Sing “The Swing” with Emily:


The Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Words and Music by Jimmy Kennedy
Illustrated by Michael Hague
ISBN 978-0-8050-5349-4


This Land is Your Land

Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
With a Tribute by Pete Seeger
Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen
This book, rich in detail, features printed music and a tribute to Woody Guthrie written by Pete Seeger.


This Little Light of Mine (Raffi Songs to Read)

Traditional Tune
Additional Words by Raffi
Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

tomorrow 4 sbwe cover only
Words by Martin Charnin
Music by Charles Strouse
From the Musical ANNIE
For classroom use only.

TWINKLE LITTLE BAT (L. Carroll) song card w chords 4 sbwe
Twinkle Little Bat Song Sheet w Chords  by ELEG for SBWE
Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Lewis Carroll
Poster Card by ELEG for SBWE

up up up
Up, Up, Up

Words and Music by Susan Reed
Illustrated by Rachel Oldfield
Published by Barefoot Books 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Words and Music by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith
As Sung by Peggy Lee
Illustrated By Tim Hopgood


We’re Sailing to Galapagos (A Week in the Pacific)

Tune and Chords by ELEG for SBWE
Words by Laurie Krebs
Illustrated by Grazia Restelli
Published by Barefoot Books 


Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Poem by Eugene Field
Music by Various Artists (Including Carly and Lucy Simon)
Illustrated by David McPhail


Yankee Doodle (A Song from the American Revolution)

Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Todd Ouren
(This book features printed music, a page of song history, and activity ideas)


Yellow Submarine (Sing-A-Song Storybook)
Words and Music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Illustrated by Cathy Holly


You’re a Grand Old Flag
Words and Music by George M. Cohan
Illustrated by Warren Kimble

Related Posts


This is the list of songs from the Sing Books with Emily Repertoire of Illustrated Songs that children request the most: Kids Favorite Illustrated Songs


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