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I Had a Rooster: A Traditional Folk Song

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Published by Viking, 2001
28 pages
ISBN: 0-670-03521-1

Ages 2 - 8

A cumulative folk song involves a child who says "I had a rooster and the rooster pleased me..." and then creates a menagerie under a greenberry tree: cat, duck, cow, pig, sheep, and lion. The final addition to the raucous group is a baby who "went waah, waah." Young singers are encouraged to sing the growing list of creatures and their sounds in order. The ingenious page design was originated by Pete Seeger's stepmother, the musicologist Ruth Crawford Seeger, and it causes the order to become self-evident. Spiral bound durable pages offer a practical format for Vaccaro's vibrantly colored expressionistic paintings of a blond white child happily involved in imaginative play. Pete Seeger's two-page foreword embodies comments about collecting and sharing folk music and includes his original child-tested cumulative drawings for his rendition of the song with countless young audiences. The audioCD enclosed in the back of the book will give today's children a chance to hear Pete's version, along with two other songs recorded by Ruth's adult children Peggy and Mike, who is Vaccaro's father-in-law. Fiddle-i-fee illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Little, Brown, 1992) is another pleasing book edition of the same folk song. Each is a huge hit with young children whose enthusiasm for repeated singings leaves the song ringing in the consciousness of whoever gets to share the fun with them. CCBC categories: The Arts; New Editions of Old Favorites; Folklore, Mythology, and Traditional Literature.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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