Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-PoohThere is nothing quite so frustrating when you are reading a book aloud to your small children as to come across a bit that is supposed to be sung. Or at least, a bit that the character whose voice you are squeakily imitating is supposed to be singing. It's not as if there is any music that tells the how to sing it, so the hapless grown-up tries to read it, only to be stopped.

"But, Mommy! Winnie-the-Pooh is singing this, you said! Why aren't you singing, Mommy?"

Whereupon a mother has two choices: a) get into a long and involved explanation about why Mommy is not singing, then repeat the explanation about 15 times, or b) make up a tune on the spot. Which is how a mother finds herself trying to sing lyrics like:

"Tra-la-la, tra-la-la.
Tra-la-la, tra-la-la,
Tiddle-iddle, tiddle-iddle,
Tiddle-iddle, tiddle-iddle,

Have I ever pointed out that, as much I love to listen to music, I have no talent whatsoever for making music? And yet, my children still love me after listening to me singing my way through all the Winnie the Pooh stories. It's amazing.

Up, Up And Away (Digitally Remastered 1997)Honestly, I would much rather have been singing a song that didn't require me to make up music, like The Fifth Dimension's Up, Up and Away (which, incidentally, works very well as a companion song to the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and the bees.)

"[Pooh] put his head between his paws and thought very carefully.

"It's like this," he said. "When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is not to let the bees know you're coming. Now, if you have a green balloon, they might think you were only part of the tree, and not notice you, and if you have a blue balloon, they might think you were only part of the sky, and not notice you, and the question is: Which is most likely?"

And so Pooh finds eventually finds himself floating in the air, just out of reach of the beehive and its honey, hanging onto a blue balloon, coated with mud and trying to convince the bees that he was a harmless rain cloud, not a honey thief.

"We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
For we can fly, we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
Suspended under a twilight canopy"

Up, Up and Away

Books: Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
Music: Up, Up and Away, The Fifth Dimension


Jaleh D said...

That's very cute. I'm also shocked to realize I haven't read my son any of the classic Pooh stories, only the newer ones from Disney. I'd better hunt to see if I have a copy of the original Pooh book. If not, I'd better get one.

Jolene Perry said...

Oh yeah, my favorite is when they tell you you're singing it wrong because daddy sings it a different way...

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

I'm a children's librarian, and a terrible, terrible singer.
Still, I manage to sing for storytimes, and the kids always love it. I have gotten a complaint or two from parents once in while (Yes, my singing really is that bad, lol) but no matter! I just soldier on with confidence - it's all you can do really.

I remember reading the Hobbit out loud to my younger sister as a bedtime story and running into the same dilemma. There's a part where the dwarves start to sing something along the lines of:

Chip the glasses and smash the plates!
That's what Bilbo Baggins hates -

That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!
So, carefully now! Carefully with the plates!

I made up a tune on the spot, and it's remained a favorite of ours many years since.


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