Robert Burns for Wee Folk!

Burns for Wee Folk!

Babybear and I love the books, written in Scots, ‘Katie’s Ferm’ and ‘Katie’s Year’ by James Robertson with the fabulous illustrations in both by Karen Anne Sutherland.

So, I was thrilled to discover ‘Rabbies Rhymes’ – a collection of the first lines of some of Robert Burns’ most well known poems, illustrated for wee ones in the same brilliantly vivid style as the ‘Katie’ books. It takes me right back to my school days of learning a Burns poem by heart for the class Burns Night poetry competition; this proves to be a real advantage when reading ‘Rabbie’s Rhymes’ with Babybear as though each page of the book only has the first line or so for each poem, I can still remember the rest for a few of them!

‘Rabbie’s Rhymes’ also has flaps for wee ones to lift, which Babybear loves as it makes the book more interactive for her; she takes great delight in peeking at the pictures below over and over again! I’m not actually sure if it’s me or Babybear that enjoys this book more, it’s a real winner for both wee ones and those not so wee!!

  • Find ‘Rabbie’s Rhymes – Burns for Wee Folk’ by Robert Burns and illustrated by Karen Anne Sutherland in your local library or independent bookshop – if you can’t find it, just ask, they may be able to order it in for you.

The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

With Burns Night coming up on the 25th of January I thought I’d give this week’s posts a Scottish theme. Today, I’d like to share with you a favourite song that I often sing with Babybear (well, I sing and she claps appreciatively!) . I find singing a wee tune to be a great activity when her dinner is just out of the oven or off the hob and I’m trying to distract a hungry BabyBear!

The Jeelie Piece Song (originally by folk performer Adam McNaughton) is a real childhood favourite of mine, which I loved to watch being performed on my ‘Singing Kettle’ (Scottish children’s performance group – www.singingkettle.com) video over and over again. It tells the tale of ‘weans from castlemilk’ who are missing out on their dinner because their ‘pieces’ are ‘skyting oot the winda’ of twenty story flats – that is, for those not versed in Scots, the children from a housing scheme in the south of Glasgow are missing out on their lunch as their sandwiches are being thrown of windows of twenty story flats, to them playing below.

Have a listen to The Singing Kettle’s performance, so you know the tune, and below are the words so you can sing along! Can you figure out what it all means?!

The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

I'm a skyscraper wean, I live on the nineteenth flair,
But I'm no gaun oot to play ony mair,
Since we moved to Castlemilk, I'm wasting away,
'Cause I'm getting one less meal every day.

O ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-story flat,
Seven-hundred hungry weans will testify to that,
If it's butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is plain or pan,
The odds against it reaching earth and ninety-nine to one.

On the first day my maw flung out a piece o' Hovis brown.
It came skyting oot the winda and went up insteid o' doon,
But every twenty-seven hours it comes back into sight,
'Cause my piece went into orbit and became a satellite.

One the second day my maw flung me a piece oot once again.
It went and hit the pilot in a fast, low-flying plane.
He scraped it off his goggles, shouting through the intercom:
`The Clydeside Reds have got me wi' a breid-and-jeely bomb!'

One the third day my maw thought she would try another throw.
The Salvation Army band was staunin' doon below.
`ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS' was the piece they should have played,
But the oompah-man was playing a piece-on-marmalade.

We've wrote away tae Oxfam to try and get some aid,
And a' the weans in Castlemilk have formed a ``Piece'' brigade;
We're going to march to George's Square, demanding civil rights,
Like `Nae Mair Hooses Over Piece-Flinging Height!'

Why not have a think back to your childhood and share with your baby one of your favourite songs or rhymes. Babies and young toddlers love the rhyme and rhythm, it will build their vocabulary and listening skills and most of all singing with your baby is a great fun, interactive activity.

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