Singing and dancing at the library!

At the Library with Jenn Atkinson

Published on April 13, 2017

At the Library with Jenn Atkinson

If you’ve got a pre-schooler at home, put on their dancing shoes and bring them over to the Four Fathers Library on Thursday, April 20, for Classical Munchkins!  

Symphony Nova Scotia will take place from 10-10:30 a.m. and is intended for ages three to five. One or two members of the symphony will teach the children how their instruments work and what kinds of sounds they make.
After the instructional portion, they will play some familiar songs and the kids will have a chance to dance around, conduct, and have fun to the music!
This concert has me thinking about picture books that encourage singing and dancing. Studies have shown that singing improves children’s literacy and language skills, while dancing helps them develop spatial awareness and become less clumsy. In addition to these benefits, adding song and dance to story time with your child is fun, engaging, and memorable. When I was a pre-schooler, my parents made up a song using the words of a book we regularly read together. I remember singing along and dancing around with my sister; to this day, everyone in our family can sing the words of that book.
If you’re looking for musical books to add to your story time repertoire, I would start with the Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin and James Dean. The first three Pete books – I Love My White Shoes, Rockin’ In My School Shoes, and Four Groovy Buttons – are my favourites. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love these books. They don’t come with a CD, but you can find and play the recording online. For more familiar tunes, you can also check out the Pete the Cat’s Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
Eric Litwin left Pete the Cat series after three books, but he’s still busy writing catchy books for kids to sing! His rockin’ new series The Nuts, illustrated by Scott Magoon, includes Bedtime at the Nut House, Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants, and Keep Rolling!, which will be out later this year. You can download the songs online, or you can make up your own tunes when you read them aloud!
To get kids moving and grooving, I recommend: I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Frank Morrison, about a little girl who hears music in the world around her and starts dancing to the beat; If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley, which is a silly monster version of the popular song If You’re Happy and You Know It; and Wiggle by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Scott Menchin, which will get kids wiggling from head to toe!
There are too many great song-and-dance picture books to include in this article, but I want to give a shout-out to these favourites: Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, Fish Jam by Kylie Howarth, Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees, Duck Dock Hop by Jane Kohuth, Ballet Cat series by Bob Shea, and Music Is For Everyone by Jill Barber and illustrated by Sydney Smith.
And be sure to join us and Maggie’s Place at the Four Fathers Memorial Library every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. for Once Upon a Time (ages 0-5). We spend 90 minutes singing, dancing, reading, and eating a snack. It’s a fun, free way for kids (and adults) to socialize and play.
For more information on our programs and our musical picture books, contact your local library or visit our website: www.cumberlandpubliclibraries.ca

Jenn Atkinson is the youth services librarian for the Cumberland Public Libraries