Oh, Susanna, Yankee Doodle, Home on the Range, you know the songs but do you know the stories and history behind the songs? There is so much history to be learned while learning about the music from the days of our ancestors. This year one of AJ’s assignments was to learn about the history of the song Yankee Doodle. I was surprised that there was not anything kid friendly that explained the history behind the song. Sure there were song books, but nothing that explained the song. We used a few different things and AJ understood the basics behind the song, but I really wished there was a better way to learn. Fast forward a few months and I was offered the opportunity to review Diana Waring’s Experience History Through Music. From the description it seemed as though these books would be exactly what I was looking for, and they were.
Experience History Through Music is a fun way to do just as the title states, learn history through music. There are three titles available in the Experience History Through Music series; Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West, America The Heart of a New Nation, and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each book is soft covered and contains beautiful stories and pictures. The books each have between 13 and 16 songs and the stories behind them. Included in the back of each book is the sheet music and lyrics for the songs discussed in the book. There is not really an age requirement for these books, but older teens may find the music a little hoaky. AJ is 11 and enjoyed most of the songs.
Attached to the back cover of each book there is a CD. Each CD was professionally recorded with beautiful instrumental music and vocals.
AJ and I were given a physical copy of; the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Westward Ho! The heart of the Old West, and all three CDs. We were given a digital copy of America The Heart of a New Nation.
Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West contains music and stories that have a pioneer spirit. Songs include; Home on the Range, Gooey Duck, Westward Ho!, and many more.We both really enjoyed this book. It shows both the good and bad that happened during the times of the pioneers and really digs into American history. While we read the stories and listened to the songs AJ was learning so much, but she didn’t think of it as school work, she just thought we were having fun. Our favorite song in this book was Gooey Duck. Neither of us has ever heard the song before, but is is upbeat and entertaining. The story behind the song is really eyeopening to what the pioneers had to do to survive.
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the book I was looking forward to the most. Songs include; Wait for the Wagon, Buffalo Gals, Pop! Goes the Weasel, and many more. The pictures and stories in this book would make a great addition to any Little House study. We loved being able to hear some of the music that Pa played for Laura while they were growing up. It is full of pictures of the Ingalls family and the places described in the Little House books. I do have to admit though that out of all the CDs, this one was the one we liked the least. Some of the songs were a little slow and in AJ’s words kind of boring, but that is just the type of music it is.
America The Heart of a New Nation was the book we spent the least amount of time on, mainly because we don’t really enjoy reading books on the computer. The stories were great and even include Yankee Doodle. Other songs included in this book were, Oh, Susanna, Polly Wolly Doodle, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain and many more. This CD was a favorite around our house, and if we were only going to be able to buy one book I think this one would have been our pick. The music was upbeat and fun and the CD contains so many of the songs we already knew.
All of the books were full of great information to help you and your child learn history through music. The books are available separately for $18.99, but for this month only you can get all three books for only $50. If you are going to be learning about American history, or if you just want to add in a little bit of fun these books might be for you.