March 23rd, 2016
In the town of Bessières, all of the chefs come out on Easter Monday to make a gigantic omelet with 15,000 eggs! They’ve been making huge omelets every year since 1972. People call it the "Omelette of Gargantua". Gargantua is a giant from a novel by François Rabelais in the 16th century. The event is […]
June 3rd, 2015
Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world. They have a simple formula. In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door. The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words. Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
April 8th, 2015
Mrs. Mulligatawny is a poem by Arthur Macy about the value of thinking for yourself. Macy’s style reminds me of the writing of the American children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Both have fun making fun of human foibles! You can listen to a wonderful recording of the poem below and read along with the text. MP3 […]
December 17th, 2014
Rest in Peace Norman Bridwell, creator of the kids books featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog. I’ll always remember reading stacks of Clifford books with my son Calvin when he was young. They helped him learn how to read! Bridwell has left an enduring legacy with his books that children and parents will read for […]
October 22nd, 2014
I’m so excited! I just discovered a major collection of online recordings of children’s singing games! Iona and Peter Opie are among the world’s top collectors of English nursery rhymes and kids songs. When working on Mama Lisa’s World, I refer to their research quite a bit. They published one of the most comprehensive collections […]
June 12th, 2014
Eric Hill, author of the Spot the Dog children’s books, passed away this week at 86. Hill created Spot for his young son in 1976. In 1980, he created the first lift-the-flap book to ever exist called "Where’s Spot?". He came up with the "lift-the-flap" design after he had seen it on advertising flyers. What […]
December 30th, 2012
Towards the end of WWI two cousins, young girls, took photos with fairies they said they had met. Later they admitted they faked the photos. Yet many people at the time believed they were real, including the author of the Sherlock Holmes stores, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The fairies came to be called the "Cottingley […]
August 23rd, 2012
Dav Pilkey is the author of the Captain Underpants series… which gave both my son and daughter (and my husband) hours of pleasure. In the video below, you can see him drawing Captain Underpants while explaining how reading gives you superpowers!
April 17th, 2012
Where the Bee Sucks is from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In the play, it’s sung by the fairy spirit Ariel. You can read this lovely song below and listen along to two different renditions of it – one recited, the other sung. Where The Bee Sucks (Shakespeare) Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In […]
December 7th, 2011
The Gift of the Magi is a short story written by O. Henry in the early 1900’s. The story is at heart of what the holiday season and gift giving should be about… a selfless act to make another person happy… it’s not about the money you spend that’s important… it’s the sentiment behind the […]
October 15th, 2011
The chant "Double, double toil and trouble" from Shakespeare’s "MacBeth" echoes in my mind every year at Halloween-time. Here you can listen to it and read along… MP3 of Double, double toil and trouble Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone Days and nights has thirty-one Swelter’d […]
September 20th, 2011
A version of Gulliver’s Travels for kids from 1910 was just released in mp3 audio recordings on Librivox. The recordings are of a book called Gulliver’s Travels Told to the Children by John Lang. Check out the blog post below to read about a project you can do with students relating to this book… Using […]
June 17th, 2011
Hans Christian Andersen wrote many well-known Fairy Tales for children. He was born in the city of Odense, Denmark in 1805. In the photo you can see a statue of him in a park in Odense. We have a Danish song written by H.C. Andersen on Mama Lisa’s World called Hist, hvor vejen slår en […]
June 3rd, 2011
Project Gutenberg just released "Songs from Alice in Wonderland" for free on the internet. Scores and midis are provided in the online book. Here are two songs in the book for your enjoyment… How doth the little Crocodile Listen to Midi Tune How doth the little crocodile Improve his shining tail, And pour the […]
December 23rd, 2010
Our tree looks like The Grinch this year… It’s bizarre! Here’s why… We keep our pup Mango in our living room area. Everything else is gated off. When we leave the house, she tears up anything left within reach. This is a big problem at Christmastime. The living room is the only place for […]
May 1st, 2010
Helen Korablev sent me links to some bilingual Russian English tales online. They were originally written in Russian, but they have English translations next to them. Two were written by the famous Russian author, Pushkin. Helen wrote: Lisa, hi! I’m sending you links to some lovely Russian tales. I hope it will be useful for […]
March 2nd, 2010
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and thank you for all the entertainment you’ve given us throughout the years! Here’s a cool Seuss link Ed Gawlinski sent me… Who’s Who and What’s What in the Books of Dr. Seuss And now some pearls from Dr. Seuss himself… “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There […]
February 19th, 2010
Alice in Wonderland is coming out in theaters next month in the US… starring one of my favorite actors, Johnny Depp! Adding to the excitement is that it’s directed by Tim Burton. He directed Edward Scissorhands (starring Depp), The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (also […]
September 29th, 2009
I clearly remember being seven years old and listening to Elton John’s rendition of the Beatle’s Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in my suburban backyard… Looking up at the sky and imagining a girl there, possibly me, floating with diamonds, a rainbow in the background (I guess due to the colorful imagery in the […]
September 18th, 2009
The proverb “Good fences make good neighbors” has been around for a couple of centuries in different forms. One place it can be found is in Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin. His version is: “Love your neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.” It’s interesting that the specific wording of the proverb, “Good fences […]
August 7th, 2009
The Bee His labor is a chant, His idleness a tune; Oh, for the bee’s experience Of clovers and of noon! Emily Dickinson – Poems XV
May 7th, 2009
Project Gutenberg just released an online version of Anatole France’s book "Les enfants" in English. It’s called "Our Children", which is a collection of little stories for kids. It has some lovely illustrations. I read a couple of stories from it to my daughter yesterday and she enjoyed them. The book is from around 1886. […]
May 3rd, 2009
The noiseless little noises of earth Come with softest rustle; The shy, sweet feet of life; The silky flutter of moth-wings Against my restraining palm; The strident beat of insect-wings, The silvery trickle of water; Little breezes busy in the summer grass; The music of crisp, whisking, scurrying leaves, The swirling, wind-swept, frost-tinted leaves; The […]
March 30th, 2009
Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. (Coming out on October 16, 2009.) It looks awesome! Thanks to Troy McDonald at PeekaBookaZoo for pointing this out!
March 9th, 2009
A lot of mystery still surrounds the life of William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616). No one can really say for certain… but this is now believed by some scholars to be the only portrait painted of Shakespeare that he actually sat for during his lifetime. It’s thought to have been painted in 1610, when he […]
March 5th, 2009
Nancy wrote to me looking for: “the complete poem by Walter de la Mare which starts with: ‘Someone came a-knocking on my wee small door….'” Here is Walter de la Mare’s poem called SOME ONE: SOME ONE Some one came knocking At my wee, small door; Some one came knocking, I’m sure – sure – […]
February 21st, 2009
I read Neil Gaiman’s book Coraline when it came out in 2002 and enjoyed it – so I figured the film was a good bet. I was worried by the clips of this film, that it might be a little scary for my 7 year old daughter. But it looked wonderful and I knew it […]
February 20th, 2009
This week I started reading Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg. It’s very well written. In the early pages of this book, you realize that Abe was a kid just like any other kid. For example, he wrote this at about eleven (can’t you imagine your kid writing this?): Abraham Lincoln is my nam[e] And with […]
October 29th, 2008
The Three Witches Spell from Shakespeare’s Macbeth is great to read or listen to for Halloween. Some of the lines in this speech are offensive to our twenty-first century ears, and I hesitated to print it here, on a site with significant family traffic. But rather than censor the greatest writer in the English language, […]
October 17th, 2008
Kids are funny. My daughter was recently playing on her Gameboy (the handheld gaming system). I said something to her, but she was so absorbed that she completely didn’t hear. So I commented to her friend, who was also there, that my daughter was lost in another world. Her friend asked, “Why? Was she trapped?” […]
September 5th, 2008
Quote by Ben Franklin: The noblest question in the world is, What good may I do in it? -Poor Richard’s Almanack
February 12th, 2008
I have a correction to make – and investigating my error has led me to an interesting discovery. Way back in 2005, I was asked about the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” At the time I attributed it to Benjamin Franklin. The saying was in […]
June 21st, 2006
Today’s the first day of summer. In honor of the day, here’s one of the best known poems in the English language that refers to the summer. It’s Shakespeare’s Sonnet #18. Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds […]
May 6th, 2006
My husband, Jason Pomerantz of Fiddle And Burn, has just completed his reading of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s lots of fun to hear! Come listen to an MP3 Recording of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Jason says… I hope you have as much fun listening as I’ve had […]
March 9th, 2006
The Ides of March is on March 15th every year. The expression Beware the Ides of March can mean beware of impending danger. If someone says Beware the Ides of March referring to March 15th itself, it can have the sense of March 15th being a bad luck day, just like Friday the 13th. The […]
February 26th, 2006
A couple of days ago I talked about Pancake Day in England. Here’s another song about pancakes. This one’s by Christina Rossetti (1830 -1894)… Pancake Song Mix a pancake, Stir a pancake, Pop it in the pan; Fry the pancake, Toss the pancake, Catch it if you can. Happy Pancake Day! Lisa
February 25th, 2006
I just noticed a link to Music from the Florida Folklife Collection on Neil Gaiman’s Blog. If you’re into folk music, check it out! It’s pretty good. I also noticed while reading over Neil Gaiman’s Blog that he recently added some video clips. So if you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, take a look. -Lisa
February 12th, 2006
How did February 14th become associated with romance? It started with a pretty little story that on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day the birds begin to sing. On Valentine’s Day itself, so the legend went, they mate. This idea of birdly courtship hopped over to humans and developed into the custom of celebrating love […]
January 16th, 2006
Ben Franklin (1706 – 1790) is an amazingly interesting character! He made tremendous contributions to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He also invented the lightening rod, bifocals and the wood stove. One of his favorite pastimes was Chess. Here’s what he had to say about it… The Morals of Chess The game […]
December 31st, 2005
Here are two old nursery rhymes related to the New Year… He who is born on New Year’s morn Will have his own way as sure as you were born. *** Married when the year is new, He’ll be loving, kind and true. *** Here’s a quote from Ben Franklin about the New Year… Be […]
December 11th, 2005
Helen wrote me, Hi, Do you know the name of the one that includes “early to bed and early to rise”? I think the the word wise is also included. I have searched every where I can think of on the internet but this is still keeping me awake at night. Thanks, Helen Benjamin Franklin […]
November 30th, 2005
Chapter 2 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is now available on Mama Lisa’s Children’s Classics. In this chapter, read by Jason Pomerantz, Dorothy rescues the munchkins from tyranny and sets forth on her journey down the Yellow Brick Road. Wizard of Oz – Chapter 2 – MP3 Podcast Recording: The […]
November 27th, 2005
Last night my husband, my son and I went to see the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie. I think everyone should read the Harry Potter series. They’re highly imaginative and fun. The first book was the best so far. The later ones are (needlessly) too long. But if I was a kid, […]
My four year old daughter loves this book and TV show. It’s about a little bear, a cat, a duck, a hen, an owl, and a girl with her doll. The stories are about the simple joys in a kid’s life, like wishing upon a star, pretending to go to the moon, and opposite day […]
November 18th, 2005
I keep wanting to write that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite children’s books. But when I really think about it, I realize that it’s actually one of my favorite books PERIOD! After having seen the movie umpteen times, as a kid and adult, I wasn’t expecting any surprises from the […]
October 31st, 2005
I hope everyone had a happy (and scary!) Halloween. My husband, kids and I had a great time trick-or-treating, along with my sister-in-law and her children. We carved our Jack O’Lantern, roasted our pumpkin seeds and then gorged ourselves on Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Mars Bars! When we got home and the monsters were […]
October 4th, 2005
“Songs remain. They last. The right song can turn an emperor into a laughingstock, can bring down dynasties. A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams and gone. That’s the power of songs.” -From Neil Gaiman‘s new book Anansi Boys (Which btw I thoroughly enjoyed and […]
September 24th, 2005
“Coffee was only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your slightly older self.” I don’t know if it’s true. But it sounds good. So, perhaps, as a coffee drinker, it’s something to ponder!
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
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receive a free copy of Mama Lisa's Christmas Around The World when you purchase our best selling collection Kid Songs Around The World.
People everywhere love Christmas - but we don't all celebrate it the same way. Mama Lisa's Christmas Around The World is a celebration of the diversity and love with which many different cultures mark this joyful time of year.You'll read about traditions and songs from many different nations. The songs are given in their original languages and with English translations.What makes the book really special is the many comments from Mama Lisa's correspondents who have shared stories and memories from their own lives. The memories of childhood touch us forever!
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In Kid Songs Around The World we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they meant in their lives.
Christmas Around The World and Kid Songs Around The World are downloadable e-books, which you will gain access to immediately. (They are not physical books.)
We hope these books will help foster a love of international children's songs!
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A Mama Lisa Book
Over 50 songs and rhymes, in French with translations into English. You'll find well-known songs like Frère Jacques, Alouette, and Au claire de la lune, alongside many you may never have heard of. At the end of each item in this book, there's a web address to an online version of the song or rhyme. There we are often able to include sheet music, recordings and videos of performances. We hope this book will help foster a love of French songs and culture all over the world! Order Here!