Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hey Mr. Choo-choo, Where Are You Going?

I think I've mentioned before that Maya's favorite musician so far is Dan Zanes. She loves those acoustic guitar sounds. Dan Zanes does tasteful new songs, children's classics, and traditional songs that I can listen to and enjoy along with Maya.

Our favorite CD is still the one our friend Nicole gave to Maya before she was born, Catch That Train. It has a couple of train songs, classics like "Loch Lomond" and "Welcome Table", a couple of foreign language tunes, and even a protest song. Guests include Father Goose, Nick Cave, Natalie Merchant, and The Blind Boys of Alabama (weren't there five at one time?).

Check out the video for the title track on YouTube:

Hey Mr. Choo-choo, Where Are You Going?, by Susan Wickberg and illustrated by Yumi Heo, is a great train book with a wonderful tune. Just listen to this:

Hey Mr. Choo-choo,
Red, white, and blue-choo,
Hey Mr. Choo-choo,
What are you doing?

Conductor call-call-calls.
I want to pull-pull-pull.
But I wait-wait-wait
Till my cars are full.

Isn't that great? The arrangement of the text as a whole is thematic. Each set of stanzas, which can take up two or more pages, begins with that first refrain but poses a different question. "What are you pulling?" or "Where are you going?"

I had a bit of trouble with the meter reading it through the first time, but with practice I think I could sing this book as well as read it. The wordplay and repetition are so much fun and feel great on your tongue.

Speaking of YouTube, I've been thinking I'd like to add a video component to this venture. Something like clips of reading stories and singing songs. How about some other ideas? What would be useful or entertaining for all of you?

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