This January we welcome Nicola McEldowney, a happy addition to our line-up of talented teachers, who will be offering childrn's puppetry classes at P.S. Bookshop. Ms. McEldowney is a professional puppeteer whose Puppet Storytime Theatre programs have been taught and performed in libraries, schools, theatres and other venues.
In this class, suitable for ages 5 and up, students will learn how to make their own puppets, how to make those puppets come alive onstage, and how to create a story to be performed with puppets. The session will culminate with the students' very own puppetry performance showcase for family and friends.
The winter session will include 10 weekly meeting, days & times TBD. Due to the lessons' physical requirements the number of places for each class is limited. To register please contact Nicola by either email or phone and secure your child's spot for the coming winter semester.
Uncase the banjo, tune up the fiddle and dust off your dulcimer – a vast collection of American folk song books has landed at the store. An accomplished, curious musician and store patron found his shelves were getting overcrowded and passed on to us an impressive collection of music books, some of general-historical type, some instructive, but mostly songbooks & sheet music.
There are the classic, almost commonplace books for lovers of the American musical heritage: The Fireside Books of Folk Songs, The Fireside Book of Love Songs, Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag, A Treasury of Stephen Foster, Songs of the Weavers, and several compilations of Burl Ives and Judy Collins.
Folk icon Woody Guthrie is the subject of Guthrie’s own Born to Win;Thelma Bray's self-published, Texas-centric Reflecitons: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie;and the most unusual, My favorite Things About My Brother, Woody Guthrie by (you guessed it) his sister Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, published in 2002 by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
For students of folk music whose interest goes beyond the casual there are several historical books. Representing two generations of Lomaxes are father John’s Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads & Adventures of a Ballad Hunter and son Alan’s The Rainbow Sign: A Southern Documentary. For Bluegrass lovers (besides sheet music and instruction books for the abovementioned instruments) there is Bob Artis’ Bluegrass: From the lonesome wail of a mountain love song to the hammering drive of the Scuggs-style banjo, the story of an American musical tradition. The attractive and hefty 500-page Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne & Frank Warner Collection - like Sandburg’s Songbag and to an even further extent - is filled with historical data, provenances and amusing anecdotes.
We are not ones to name-drop, but if you are already wondering which musician’s books these once were, it would be unfair of us not to mention the numerous anthologies of children's songs: melodies gathered in 100-year-old school textbooks, nursery rhymes put to music, lullabies, game songs, silly songs. Of the latter we must quote at least one example:
We have a dear old Daddy
Whose hair is silver grey.
He has a set of whiskers -
They’re always in the way
Oh, they’re always in the way.
The cow eats them for hay.
Mother eats them in her sleep
She thinks she’s eating shredded wheat,
They’re always in the way
There are books of songs from different lands and peoples: Jewish, Irish & Welsh, African, Afro-Latin rhythms, Mexican canciones, Calypso & Reggae. Can you guess which Brooklyn musician draws on such a wide array of musical sources? And then of course there are the compendiums of the works of some of America's greatest song writers: Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Stephen Sondheim.
One last hint: for those of you swabbing the deck, rigging the sails or simply laying back in your pleasure yacht there’s an offering of some extraordinary of sea song and shanties: Burl Ives Sea Songs: of Sailing, Whaling and Fishing; The Oxford Book of Sea Songs; Frank Shay’s American Sea Songs and Chanteys from the Days of Iron Men and Wooden Ships; Kate & Jon Raven's unusual Canal Songs. And these are just the beginning.
Well, it’s all for me grog
Me noggin' noggin' grog
All for me beer and tobbaco
For I spent all me tin
With the ladies drinking gin
And across the western ocean I must wander
So before you spend all of your tin be sure to stop by the store and secure at least one of these musical treasures. When you do, if you haven’t yet guessed the name of their previous owner, we may very well tell.