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Stories, recipes and traditional songs for children in superb new book

Ballindaggin’s Aileen Lambert receives praise from Christy Moore for ‘The Frog and the Mouse’

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Aileen Lambert.

Aileen Lambert.

The cover of the children's song book, 'The Frog and the Mouse'.

The cover of the children's song book, 'The Frog and the Mouse'.

A recipe for colcannon from the children's song book, 'The Frog and the Mouse'.

A recipe for colcannon from the children's song book, 'The Frog and the Mouse'.

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Aileen Lambert.

enniscorthyguardian

A NEW book of traditional Irish songs for children has earned the praise of none other than Irish music legend, Christy Moore.

Commenting on ‘The Frog and the Mouse’, the new book by Aileen Lambert, the famous songwriter said “I’ve been listening to and learning folk songs all my life - they have been my inspiration. With this is great little publication Aileen is bringing these old songs to new ears and voices.”

However, the book is more than just about songs as it features stories too including those of Pol and Nancy’s two pet pigs, a wedding between a frog and a mouse and Paddy’s adventures in the belly of a whale.

The book is also beautifully illustrated and one of the things that all of the songs featured have in common is that they are all great fun to sing.

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“From tall tales of amazing adventures to nonsense songs they have proven themselves as appealing songs to engage young singers,” commented Aileen, of the songs contained in the book.

Aileen, from Ballindaggin, is a traditional singer, music educator and project facilitator and for this project she teamed up with an old friend from her art college days, Liza Kavanagh from Kildare, who created the books beautiful illustrations.

The book features a selection of 14 songs which Aileen has been singing with children across the country and beyond for the past 15 years.

Each of the songs are accompanied by suggested activities, fun facts and other information with the activity pages including word-searches, a crossword and music notation, all linked to the songs.

Primary school teachers might also be interested in the curriculum links section so they can integrate the songs into various subjects they are teaching.

“From my many years of delivering song workshops with children I know the questions they have about the song,” said Aileen.

“‘What does that word mean?’, did that really happen?’ So alongside each song are little bubbles which explain the meaning of old words,” she added.

She also said there are bubbles telling something about the background to the songs or suggesting a creative activity inspired by them.

Aileen’s experience working as a creative associate on the Arts Council/Creative Ireland supported Creative Schools Programme means she recognizes the value  songs can have in the primary school curriculum, and not just on the subject of music.

She has provided three pages of curriculum link ideas for primary school teachers so that they can see easily how they can integrate the songs into various other subjects such as history and geography etc.

The songbook also links with an accompanying YouTube playlist and for each song there is a subtitled video featuring Aileen singing the songs with her daughters Nellie, Eppie and Nan.

The videos were all made since the first lockdown when singing workshops couldn’t take place and many were commissioned by various County Councils as part of their Cruinniú na nÓg Programmes in 2020 and 2021.

Collated as a playlist on Aileen’s Youtube channel they now act as an additional resource alongside the songbook to ensure that children can sing the songs for generations to come.

To order the new book online go to www.aileenlambert.com and they can also be ordered by cheque or postal order.

The cost of the songbook is €15, plus postage and packaging, and more information can be had by contacting Aileen on 087 7552593.

The book project was supported by an Artlinks Bursary, Deis Award from the Arts Council, Kildare County Council Arts Services and the Arts Department of Wexford County Council.

Aileen delivers workshops in primary schools as part of the Heritage in Schools Scheme and Music Generation. 


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