Sisters’ Choice: science songs, animal songs, childrens music


Lyrics and Activities for Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning music cassette:
ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, 15 Ecology Songs for the Whole Family

To order music cassette

Table of Contents

All in This Together
My Sister's a Whale in the Sea
I'm a Reptile
Fancy Face Waltz
Johnny Appleseed
The Clouds
Who's Gonna Save the Ark?
Fix My Dog
Beulah the Beast
Best Friend
Just Like We Do
Home in the Sky
Eating Up the Forest
My Very Tall Friend
The Lambeth Children

Section particularly for teachers

Resource lists

This Activity Book has been split into three files. All sections may be accessed from the Table of Contents above. If you wish to save the Acitvity Book to your hard drive, you can save the file you are presently viewing, and then go to “Fix My Dog” by the above link and save that file and then go to the “Resource lists” by the above link and save that file.


If you are lucky enough to have a local independent bookstore handy, I hope you mosey over and buy your books there. Even if they don't stock the book you want, most bookstores will special order. (If you type your zip code in at BookSense you can find your nearest independent bookstore with online ordering.) HOWEVER, if you only have chain bookstores in your town, here's an easy way to buy some of the books on this site: if a book title is underlined, clicking on the title brings you right to that book's listing at, where you can order it quick as a frog's tongue. Better yet, try your local library, which may have a virtual catalog right here in Cyberville.



A frog is smaller than I am, even smaller is the flea,

But they've got more bounce to the ounce than I,

Though I've got lots of energy,

A snail is slower than I am, a tree is slower still,

A rock is slowest till I come along

And give it a boost downhill.


We're all in this together,

Though we are in different ways,

And it matters to each one of us

If one of us goes or stays.

A cheetah is faster than I am, and the wings of a hummingbird,

But I can go to Kenya in my mind,

Fast as you can say the word.

A woodpecker's better at pecking, and storing food in a tree,

I keep mine in a cookie jar,

And I'm good at being me.


An elephant's bigger than I am, a whale is biggest of all,

But when I help to protect them,

I feel great and I stand up tall,

An elephant remembers, and a whale has a deep-sea song,

And if we remember we're in this together

It makes the whole world strong.

Words copyright 1989 by Nancy Schimmel. Music copyright 1989 by Candy Forest.

Vocal: Candy Forest & The Singing Rainbows · Piano: Candy Forest · Tenor Saxophone: Ray Loeckle · Acoustic Bass: Scott Steed · Drums: Jim Zimmerman


You probably have a favorite kind of animal. Would you want that to be the only kind of animal in the world? It's all the kinds of animals and plants and people living together that makes our world what it is, and each one is important, including you.



1. For their size, fleas are terrific jumpers. Fleas jump about one hundred times their height. A human that strong could jump over a building forty stories high. Frogs are great broad jumpers. Many can jump twenty times their length. What's the broad jump record for humans these days? For frogs? (The Guinness Book of World Records should tell you.)

2. A cheetah is a big cat that lives on the African plains. Because they have been hunted for their pelts, and because parts of the plains have been turned into farmland and factories, there are not nearly as many cheetahs as there used to be.

Over short distances, the cheetah can run faster than any other animal. Over a distance of a few hundred yards, how fast do you think a cheetah can run?

a) 35 miles per hour

b) 70 miles per hour

c) 100 miles per hour

3. 'Scuse us we goofed! We used the old pronunciation of Kenya (keen´ya) in our recording of this song. The way people in Kenya now say the name of their country is ken´ya.

4. "I can go to Kenya in my mind..." can you? Maybe you have seen photographs taken in Kenya. Maybe you know lions live there. Maybe you only know the country as a shape on the map of Africa.

You can go to Kenya in your mind by imagining what it would be like to be there. Then get a book from the library or look in the encyclopedia for some photographs and see how closely they match what you imagined. Reading about a country and looking at pictures can be another way of going there in your mind.

Photographs in Daisy Rothschild show a family in Kenya raising a three-month-old Rothschild giraffe they name Daisy. The author, Betty Leslie-Melville, is trying to help save the Rothschild giraffe from extinction. (Doubleday, 1987)

Mcheshi Goes to the Game Park is a picture book from Kenya in both English and Swahili. In it, a girl and her little brother visit a game park with their uncle, who is a game warden. They see elephants and other animals. It is published by Jacaranda Designs in Nairobi, but you can also buy it from their branch in the United States: Jacaranda Designs, 2701 E. Warren Avenue, Denver, CO 80210.

Another way to travel by mind-power is by having a pen pal.

International Pen Friends

Box 290065

Brooklyn, NY 11229-0001

can help you find a pen pal in another country.

5. Find a poem about an animal you like, or make up your own. A good one about woodpeckers is in Under the North Star, by Ted Hughes, a book with striking paintings by Leonard Baskin (Viking).

6. A blue whale can be 95 feet long, longer than the largest dinosaur and an elephant lined up. Find the height and length of some large animals and make a chart comparing their sizes.

7. Rachel Carson was one of the first scientists to write for non-scientists about how the lives of all animals and plants and people are connected. The Story of Rachel Carson and the Environmental Movement by Leila M. Foster (Cornerstones of Freedom Series, Children's Press, 1990) is a brief account of her life. She was a scientist who could write so well that her 1962 book, Silent Spring, woke the whole country up to the dangers of pesticides. The people who made pesticides didn't want to admit there were any dangers. Ms. Carson kept the book a secret while she was writing it, because she wanted to check all the facts twice before any of the book's enemies found out about it and started arguing with her. Read a biography of Rachel Carson or of George Washington Carver, who said, "If you love it enough, anything will talk to you."


To play ANIMAL CHARADES, each player should write the name of his or her favorite animal on a slip of paper and put them all in a box. Then players take turns pulling an animal's name out of the box and, without saying anything or making any noise, acting out what that animal does. The player who is "it" could also answer questions about the animal, but only by acting out the answers, not by saying words.

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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My sister's a whale in the sea;

I don't think she knows about me.

I like to imagine her swimming around

From Stellwagen Bank to Nantucket Sound.

My sister, my sister, my sister's a whale in the sea.

My sister's a whale in the sea.

I've a copy of her pedigree.

I picked out a name and my mom sent the cash,

It wasn't much money for such a big splash;

My sister, my sister, my sister's a whale in the sea.

My sister's a whale in the sea,

Swimming so strong and so free.

The money will help people learn about whales,

They know which is whose by the cut of their tails.

My sister, my sister, my sister's a whale in the sea.

So look on your family tree:

Is there room for a humpback or three?

There's Mirror and Merlin and Clover and Cloud,

A sister or brother to make you feel proud.

Your sister, your sister, your sister could very well be

A forty-foot whale in the sea.

Words and music © 1986 by Nancy Schimmel

Vocal: The Singing Rainbows · Concertina: Ricky Rackin


Nancy got a letter from the Whale Adoption Project asking her to adopt a whale. She looked over the photographs of whales' tails the project sends out for people to choose a whale from. Instead of choosing a whale to adopt, she sent the project this song, which they liked.


1. On a map of Massachusetts, look just south of Cape Cod (that curl of land that sticks out into the Atlantic) to find Nantucket Sound. Is Stellwagen Bank on your map? This is not the kind of bank you put money in, but a shallow part of the ocean. Look up sound in the dictionary. Which meaning does it have in this song?

2. Look up pedigree in the dictionary. The scientists in the Whale Action Project can recognize whales that come back every year in their migrations and they keep track of which calves belong to which mothers. If they know who your adopted whale's mother and sisters or brothers are, they will tell you.

3. "The money will help people learn about whales..." It will also help the whales directly. Whales breathe air, like we do, instead of getting oxygen dissolved in water, as fish do, so they have to come to the surface to breathe. If they get tangled in fishnets or other underwater junk, they may drown. The scientists studying the whales of Stellwagen Bank have also rescued many that were tangled.

"They know which is whose by the cut of their tails..." does not mean that the whales' tails have been cut. Sailors used to say "the cut of his jib" when they were talking about someone's appearance. The jib is the triangular sail at the front of an old square-rigged sailing ship. Other people started saying "I like the cut of your jib," when they meant, "You make a good first impression on me." So in the song, "the cut of their tails" refers to the shape and color and markings on a whale's tail.

4. Look up whales in an encyclopedia or find a book about whales. How are humpback whales different from other kinds of whales? Are they baleen or toothed whales? What is the difference? What do humpback whales eat?


Whale Adoption Project has whale facts and adoption information.


You can find out more about the whales of Stellwagen Bank from Crystal, the Story of a Real Baby Whale by Karen Smyth, with drawings by Norma Cuneo (Down East, 1986).

If you like to imagine whales swimming around, try The Whales' Song by Dyan Sheldon, illustrated by Gary Blythe (Dial, 1990).

Why the Whales Came is a story that takes place in England during the first World War. Besides whales, there are ghosts and a curse. It was written by Michael Morpurgo in 1985 and published by Scholastic in 1990.

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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Once there was a baby who was tryin' to catch

A little lazy lizard in a cactus patch.

The lizard told the baby, "Don't you make me sore.

My great grandaddy was a dinosaur, and...


I'm a reptile, oooh, so shiver and shake

Yes, I'm a reptile, oooh, my cousin's a snake

And I'm a reptile, oooh, I'll eat you for lunch.

So back off, baby, we're a cold blooded bunch."

The baby walked away and wandered down the road.

He came upon a turtle with a heavy load.

The baby tried to shake the turtle out of his shell.

The turtle said, "Hey, you better treat me well. Cuz . . .


The baby kept a-cruisin' through the evergreens.

He came upon a movie crew a-shootin' a scene.

They had an alligator who was stealin' the show

A-dancin' and a-singin' sayin', "Watch me go. Cuz . . .



We're covered with scales, got big long tails.

Gonna turn you pale. You better hit the trail

Cuz I'm a reptile, oooh, a reptile, baby,

I'm a reptile, oooh, a reptile, baby . . .

Words and music © 1986 by Jill Jarboe

Vocal: The Singing Rainbow, Soloist Marti Smith · Electric Guitar: Joyce Cooling · Tenor Saxophone: Ray Loeckle · Electric Bass: Scott Steed · Drums & Percussion: Jim Zimmerman


We found this song in a nifty little newsletter called Folksong in the Classroom. The three issues on the environment are in the "For Parents and Teachers" list, along with Jill's two tapes. A musician and songwriter, Jill Jarboe was also named Conservation Educator of the Year by the Florida Wildlife Federation. Jill says, "If you would like to perform this song, it can be acted out like a play with one person as the baby and others as the animals. Or it can be done as a sort of dance." Make up your own actions to fit the words.



1. What does cold-blooded mean? Frogs are cold-blooded. How are they different from reptiles? Fish are "covered with scales." How are they different from reptiles?

2. Many reptiles eat rats and mice. They help control the population of rats and mice. This is important to people because rats and mice can carry diseases that humans can catch. Some people have the idea that we should kill snakes, but snakes do more good than harm. Hear songs about reptiles, spiders, worms, and other animals some people think are creepy, on Spin, Spider, Spin, songs by Marcia Berman and Patty Zeitlin (Educational Activities AR 551).

3. Most of the people who are bitten by snakes were trying to catch or bother the snake. They forgot the first rule about reptiles: Back off, baby!

There's a story about how the rattlesnake got its rattle in Julius Lester's book, Black Folktales (Richard W. Baron, 1969) that goes well with "I'm a Reptile."


1. Find a story about a reptile. Share it with your class or your friends. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe, is an African folktale about a snake.

2. If you have a reptile for a pet, ask your parents and your teacher if you may bring it to class for a day. Let the other students know how they should treat it.

3. Make an energy-saving snake! This snake is a draft stopper; lay it against the crack under a door and stop the draft from coming in. Cut a strip of cloth 8 inches wide and 6 inches longer than the threshold or windowsill where the draft is coming in. Fold it in half lengthwise, cut one end round for the head, taper the other end for the tail. Embroider eyes and mouth or draw them on with permanent markers. Refold in half lengthwise, this time with the inside out, and sew, leaving the head end open. Turn right-side out, fill with sand or small pebbles, and stitch up open end securely, matching the two halves of the mouth.

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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When I want a fancy face to wear with velveteen and lace,

I use the kind of make-up that suits me to a T,

I try the stores until I find the make-up that's the kinder kind,

The kind that's kind to rabbits and to me. The kind that's


Kind to rabbits and kind to me,

Kind to rabbits, kind to me.

(Repeat CHORUS)

To make sure that it's safe, they try the make-up in a bunny's eye,

They don't want us to know, because it hurts, as you'd expect,

There's other tests that they can do, so I make sure and so will you,

That our make-up's not just fun to use, it's double-checked. So that it's


It isn't just the fancy stuff that makes a bunny's life so tough,

It's toothpaste and detergent, it's cleanser and shampoo,

But when your hair and face are clean, it needn't mean that you are mean,

'Cause you can use the kind that lets the love shine through. The kind that's


Words © 1989 by Nancy Schimmel. Music © 1989 by Candy Forest

Vocal: Candy Forest & The Singing Rainbow · Piano: Candy Forest · Acoustic Guitar: Nina Gerber · Pedal Steel Guitar: Joe Goldmark · Acoustic Bass: Laurie Lewis · Drums: Jim Zimmerman


The test described in the song is called the Draize Test. In January, 1991, the city of Berkeley, California passed a law against using the Draize test in Berkeley. It is probably the first city in the United States to pass such a law. Claudia Morrow, who sings the first verse of "Fix My Dog," was one of the people who wrote the Berkeley law.


1. Does it seem unfair to test make-up on animals when humans are the only ones who use the stuff? PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a list showing which companies test cosmetics, shampoo, and cleansers on animals and which use other ways. If your favorite product isn't on PETA's OK list, you could write to the company (your library can help you find the address if it isn't on the package) and let them know you would like them to change.

Cruelty-free Shopping List


P. O. Box 42516

Washington, DC 20015

2. While kids can't make laws by themselves, kids have initiated laws, which means that they had the idea for a law and got the ball rolling. To read about kids who did this and find out how you can do it, get The Kids Guide to Social Action: How to solve the social problems you chooseand turn creative thinking into positive action, by Barbara A. Lewis (Free Spirit, 1991).

If you and your friends decide you want your town or city to pass a law banning the Draize test, you can write the City of Berkeley for a copy of theirs (Ordinance No. 6027) and pass it along to your mayor or city council with a letter saying why you think it is important. For your copy, write to:

City Clerk

2180 Milvia Street

Berkeley, CA 94704

3. Read the words to the song or listen to it again. Do you have a question about something in the song? Do the words suggest another activity?

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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A man from Massachusetts took someone else's mess,

Squashed-up apples from the cider press,

Planted out the seeds and the trees sprang up,

Now there's lots of cider for your little cider cup.


Circle round the seasons, through the wilderness,

Juice and pies and cobbler from the cider mill's mess,

Seed to tree to blossom, circle without end,

Must be Johnny Appleseed, comin' round the bend.

Johnny ran a business selling apple trees,

All around Ohio he cleared his nurseries.

If you were broke he'd take your old shirt for a tree,

If you didn't have a shirt you'd get the whole orchard free.


The War of 1812 had the settlements in fear,

Help was far away and the danger near,

Appleseed John got the message through,

He was kind and gentle and he was a hero too.


Johnny's ways were different but they made good sense,

He never killed an animal except in self-defense.

He found the good in garbage and the good in men,

And I hope that Johnny Appleseed comes around again.


Words and music © 1989 by Nancy Schimmel

Vocal: Nancy Schimmel & The Singing Rainbow · Acoustic Guitar: Nina Gerber · Violin & Acoustic Bass: Laurie Lewis · Banjo: Tony Furtado



John Chapman was called "Appleseed John" in his lifetime. The early settlers on the frontier didn't have highways to bring in fruit and sugar and candy from other places. They had to eat what they could grow or find. They could find berries in the late summer, but apples were their only fresh treat in the fall and winter, so getting young trees from Appleseed John made their life a lot sweeter. He also brought them books to read and ideas to think about.

In order to write this song, Nancy read a long biography of John Chapman, Johnny Apple-seed; Man and Myth, by Robert Price. It was published back in 1954 by the University of Indiana Press. Unfortunately, they aren't printing that book any more, and it is hard to find.


There is a good short book about John Chapman, so you can find out more about his life. It is Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg (Morrow, 1988). John Chapman: The Man Who Was Johnny Appleseed, by Carol Green (Childrens, 1991) has still more information.

You can also listen to his story told by Marc Joel Levitt on an audiotape, Johnny Appleseed: Gentle Hero, available from Marc Joel Levitt, 562 Main Street, Wakefield, RI 02879.

Usually, when people want apple trees, they grow them from cuttings (small sections of apple tree branches that can take root or be grafted onto the roots of a different apple tree) rather than growing them from seeds as John Chapman did. The trouble with growing apple trees from seeds is the taste of the fruit might not be the same as from the parent tree. A tree grown from a cutting will have exactly the same kind of apple.

But Chapman traveled on foot, mostly, and cuttings would die before he could root or graft them. Seeds would be easier to carry than young trees. People were glad to get John Chapman's trees because he had them in places where no other apple trees were growing.


1. You can start an apple tree like Johnny Appleseed did, but it will take a long time. Apple seeds must rest before they can grow. Keeping your apple seeds in the refrigerator for three months before you plant them will give them a good start. Orange and lemon seeds don't need to rest. If you plant several orange seeds in a paper cup or in a flower pot filled with dirt or potting mix and keep it moist (not drowning!) a new little orange tree may grow. A lively girl named Linnea will show you how to grow orange trees, apple trees and other plants in a book called Linnea's Windowsill Garden by Cristina Björk (R&S Books, distributed by Farrar Straus). Linnea lives in the city and she proves that you don't need a yard to have a garden.

2. Gail Gibbons has put a swing and a tree house in the tree in her picture book,The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree ( Harcourt, 1984). She also includes a diagram of a cider press and a recipe for apple pie. Peter Parnall, in his book, Apple Tree, observes all the bugs, birds and animals that visit the tree or live in it. You could choose a tree of any kind and keep a journal in words and pictures of its visitors and its changes through the seasons.

3. Have you ever eaten apple cobbler? It is like apple pie, only instead of crust top and bottom it has biscuit or shortcake dough on top OR bottom (not both). It is easier to make than apple pie and tastes good.

If you have biscuit mix you can use it for the dough or follow a recipe for 12 biscuits. The apples have to be boiling hot before you put the dough on, or they won't get cooked in the time it takes to bake the dough. If you are too young to cut apples and use the stove, you can peel the apples with a peeler, then a grown-up can cut and heat them (about five cups of sliced apples with a splash of water or apple juice will do it) and put them in an 8" x 8" baking pan while you lightly mix the dough. Then you can blob the dough on top (it doesn't have to be neat) and let the grown-up bake the cobbler in a 425o oven for about 1/2 hour.

Cinnamon and a little sugar in the apples (if they are tart) or sprinkled on the dough will make it taste sweeter. But remember, the early settlers didn't have much sugar. If you want to see how it would have tasted to them, use just a little or none at all.

4. Do you know a good apple recipe? What is your favorite kind of apple? How many kinds have you tasted? Could your group or class have an apple-tasting to find out which varieties you like best? You would have to have enough of each kind of apple so everyone could have several slices of each kind to compare with the other kinds. Remember to label the plates!

5 What other ideas do you have about activities to go with this song?

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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Gently falling rain, falling from the sky,

Streaming down like tear-drops, tear-drops from on high.

Clouds, oh won't you tell us what those tears are for?

Do you weep for something, something we've ignored?

Could it be that from your lofty post so high above

You have seen how little we have given of our love?

Do you see the lonely, weary, troubled and the poor?

Have you seen the fighting and the war?

Clouds, there must be some way to make your crying cease.

Share with us the secret of happiness and peace.

Do you mean to say that each of us can play a part?

With each spark of love we light, a flame of love may start.

Reaching all around us, giving hope to those we know;

This, you say, will help true peace to grow?

Clouds, though you are parting, your point you've made quite clear.

Peace will never happen unless we start it here.

Words and music by Cynthia Gray, © 1984 by Heritage Music Press. Reproduced by permission.

Lead Vocals, Vanessa Marshall, Alicia Roca & Ariana Dillon; Back-up Vocals, The Singing Rainbows; Piano & Synthesizer, Candy Forest; Drums, Jim Zimmerman.


One of the Singing Rainbow members had sung this song in her school chorus and brought it to a rehearsal. All of the kids liked it so much we put it on the tape. The song was also a hit with Eastern European kids at a peace camp in the United States.

The message sounds like a simple one, but putting it into practice isn't quite so easy! When long hours of rehearsal started to try our patience, we all tried to remember the words to "The Clouds."

African riddle: The sad one has stopped crying;

The compassionate friends are still weeping.

[Answer at end of section]


1. Peacemaking:

The song says "Peace will never happen unless we start it here." Can you think of some ways to start peace where you are? Read the article about the kids in Oakland who are learning to solve playground disagreements before they become fights.

Friday, January 25, 1991, THE TRIBUNE Oakland, California

Second-grade 'conflict managers' to Bush, Hussein: Why?
By Jacqueline Frost
The Tribune

In Mary Jo Dunn-Ruiz' second-grade class at Glenview Elementary School, pupils have been learning to resolve their differences through negotiation instead of fistfights. The 7- and 8-year-olds keep a journal of schoolyard taunts and discuss in class remedies to solve their conflicts. So when war broke out in the Persian Gulf, the young pupils couldn't understand why they could solve their problems peaceably when the President Bush couldn't. “It kind of frustrates me,” said Nicolas Ross, 8. “My dad was injured in the Vietnam War. My grandfather died in World War II. Can't we learn? ” Dunn-Ruiz said. . .Bush's justification for going to war was difficult to explain to the children because teachers. . .have emphasized peaceful settlement of disputes through the school's conflict resolution program. “In our school bulletin, a fourth-grader was quoted in a conversation with his father about the Persian Gulf crisis. During the discussion, he paused and said to his dad, 'I think they need conflict managers over there,'” Dunn-Ruiz said. In the conflict resolution program, offered in many Oakland schools, youngsters are trained to mediate disputes between classmates. The “conflict managers' work in teams during lunch and recess to spot potential problems and pull children aside to air and settle their differences before a fight breaks out. “After a while, kids learn that you don't have to push and shove to settle a problem,” said Lena Why, a bilingual teacher at Glenview, who is training young conflict managers... Many youngsters said they wished the nation's leaders had taken a similar course before they launched a war in the Middle East. . . “It's really sad,” said Glenview sixth-grader Tin Thang. “The soldiers have to leave their families. Some of them are parents. If they died, their sons and daughters wouldn't have a dad.”
Would you like to learn peacemaking skills? There are books to help your teachers teach them:

Kreidler, William. Creative Conflict Resolution: More Than

200 Activities for Keeping Peace in the Classroom.

Scott, Foresman, 1984.

Prutzman, Priscilla. The Friendly Classroom for a Small

Planet: A Handbook on creative approaches to living and

problem solving for children. New Society, 1988.

2. Songwriting:

Here's a tape with more good songs to think about and discuss:

Sharing Thoughts. Compiled by Andrea Stone. Audio cassette.

Stone Productions, 1990.

[Box 307, Montvale, NJ 07645-0307.]

A collection of songs for kids by different singer/songwriters about the fun parts and the hard parts of getting along with other people. There's also a discussion guide for your teacher.

3. Reading:

And some books for kids about peacemakers and about the effects of war:

Hunter, Nigel. Gandhi. Illustrated by Richard Hook. Bookwrite, 1986.
An easy biography of a leader in India who always used peaceful
ways to win independence for his country.

Bush, Catherine. Mohandas Gandhi. Chelsea House, 1985.
A longer biography of the great teacher of non-violent resistance.

Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. Putnam, 1977.
The true story of a young girl who died of leukemia ten years after being exposed to the effects of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. The author rewrote and shortened the text for a new edition with color illustrations by Ed Young, called Sadako. (Putnam, 1993)

Heidi, Florence Parry and Judith Heide Gilliland. Sami and the Time of the Troubles. Clarion, 1992.
Ten-year-old Sami remembers better times while he and his family live in his uncle's basement for shelter from the bombing in Beirut.

Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Annemarie's family helps a Jewish family go into hiding to escape a Nazi roundup of Jews in wartime Copenhagen.

[Answer to African riddle: Trees dripping after cloud has stopped raining.]

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

Return to Table of Contents


All of the animals two by two,

Mom and Dad and me and you,

Sam and the lamb and the kangaroo,

Sailin' through the dark,

Who's gonna save the ark?

When our birds fly across the seas

They build their nests in other trees

In lands we call our enemies...

If we humans go to war

We'll hit more than we're aimin' for,

The cat and the bat and the albacore...

If we wake up and the forest is gone,

We won't hear the bird's sweet song.

The bugs and the bees won't hum along...

Fish can't march and dogs can't vote,

So it's up to us to keep afloat

For Joe and the crow and the billy goat...

Listen to the grizzly growl,

Cougar cry, coyote howl.

Give a hoot for spotted owl...

When we grow up and run the show

We'll weave our flags in a new rainbow

For Claire and the bear and the buffalo...

Sailin' through the dark,

Who's gonna save the ark?

Sailin' through the dark,

We're gonna save the ark.

Rap lyrics © 1989 by Nancy Schimmel with additional lyrics by The Singing Rainbow

Rap Vocal: The Singing Rainbow · Drums, Percussion, Synthesizer: Jim Zimmerman



Nancy thought she was writing a song when she wrote these lyrics, but when she gave them to Candy to write a tune, Candy knew after reading two lines that it was a rap and that it needed more verses. So Nancy and the Rainbows wrote more.

Craig (our engineer ) made the space ship sounds by sampling white noise from between stations on an FM radio, then changing the volume and panning from one speaker to another. For the grizzly growl, he moved recorded tape back and forth slowly by hand over the heads, sampled that, and put the volume up and down.


1. In the Bible story, the animals go into the ark two by two to be safe from the flood. In this song, what is the ark? Where can animals go to be safe from pollution and war?

2. Where do "our birds" go? Many species of North American wood warblers winter in Cuba. They depend on Cuba maintaining bird sanctuaries and uncut forests. Think of some other wild birds you see and look in a bird book to see if they migrate to other countries. Which countries? Which countries do they pass through to get there? How do they know where and when to go? A book on some kind of bird that migrates may have a chapter on how they do it, or you may find a whole book on bird migration. A librarian can help you.

People in the United States and Russia have been cooperating for years trying to protect the Siberian Crane from extinction. The story is in Operation Siberian Crane, The Story Behind the International Effort to Save an Amazing Bird, by Judi Friedman (Dillon Press,1992).

What kind of hazards do birds face as they migrate? What if there is fighting in one of the countries they fly through? Might the birds get hurt?

What if one of these countries uses a pesticide that hurts birds, a pesticide that we don't use in this country any more? Companies in the United states make pesticides that are against the law to use here. They sell the pesticides to countries where they aren't against the law yet.

A book that will help you know how it might feel to be a migrating bird is Catching the Wind by Joanne Ryder (Morrow, 1989). The pictures, painted by nature artist Michael Rothman, show wild geese in flight, resting, and feeding.

People used to ride into battle on horses and use carrier pigeons to send messages in war. Dr. Ann Squire tells how dogs were used to fight in wars in ancient times on pages 17-18 of her book Understanding Man's Best Friend: Why Dogs Look and Act the Way They Do (Macmillan, 1991). Does anyone still use animals in war? A book on animal rights might help you find this out.

4. Is there a weapon that could destroy a whole forest?

5. How many years before you will be able to vote?

6. The sixth verse mentions the grizzly, the cougar (or mountain lion), the coyote and the spotted owl. Do you know what each of these creatures looks like? Do you know where they live and how their habitat is threatened? You can find pictures in books or the encyclopedia, but if you can't find information there about how their habitat is threatened, you may have to look in magazines. Ask your librarian to show you how to use the Reader's Guide to find magazine articles on the subject you want.

7. Look at a page of flags of different countries in a flag book or encyclopedia. Can you find all the colors of the rainbow? (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo [purple-blue] and violet).


You could make up your own rap. Think of a topic you'd like the rap to be about and brainstorm a bunch of words you'd like to use. Then start clapping your hands in a "stamp-clap" pattern and find some rhymes. It's fun with a group of friends. Everyone can take turns coming up with things to say. (When you brainstorm, someone writes down every word anyone thinks of, without stopping to decide which ones will work in the rap. Then people can use the words they want in their verses.)

People have designed new flags to stand for the whole earth. You could too. You or your class could make one. Students at Parker School in Oakland, California made an ecology flag and flew it from their flagpole under the American and California flags.

From the All in This Together Activity Book, ©1997 by Nancy Schimmel. May be copied for use by any non-profit school or organization if this notice is retained. Sisters' Choice, 704 Gilman Street, Berkeley CA 94710.

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