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GONNA SING MY HEAD OFF! by Kathleen Krull


American Folk Songs for Children

edited by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Allen Garns

Age Range: 6 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-81991-8
Publisher: Knopf

 Citing the splendid Fireside Book of Folk Songs (1947, o.p.) as inspiration, Krull gathers 60 lively favorites, old and new, with contemporary appeal--protest and work songs, games and dances, spirituals, nonsense, love songs, etc. Her arrangement is creative: alphabetical order leads to some nice serendipities, e.g., ending with some searching w's--``What Have They Done to the Rain?; ``Will the Circle Be Unbroken?''--and ``Yankee Doodle,'' while an index of song types brings out many other connections. Krull provides simple musical arrangements and fascinating brief introductions to the songs' histories, including recordings by well-known singers from Pete Seeger to the Beach Boys. These are not all pure folk, but they've all been widely sung as if they were, and Krull is scrupulous in accounting for their diverse origins. Even her instructions for singing are fun: ``Unladylike''; ``As if you're seasick.'' Only Garns's illustrations, on almost every spread, are a bit uneven: some seem perfunctory in their choice of subject and in execution; but, elsewhere, he uses the lush tones of his pastels to better advantage in energetic designs, deftly sketched vignettes (``Joe Hill''), or glowing, evocative scenes. An inviting book. Index of first lines. (Nonfiction. 6+)