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Circle of Songs with Hugh Hanley; Another Circle of Songs with Hugh Hanley; One More Circle of Songs with Hugh Hanley Review by Christine Hindle

Circle of Songs
1-781 643-6362
36 Devereaux Street
Arlington, MA 02476

This set of three CDs and accompanying books is one of the truly fortuitous finds I’ve had this year. Sometimes something comes along that fits your homeschool to a T.  This is that something. I had previously bought some collections of songs for my preschoolers which they enthusiastically embraced, but when we got this set, it was a direct hit. 

Each CD contains about 29 songs and there is an accompanying book which gives the lyrics and pictures of Mr. Hanley doing the motions and a description of the actions you take during the song. The only thing that could possibly improve on this would be DVDs whereby we could watch this wonderful man in action. I know my kiddos would love that.

Disc 1 – Circle of Songs

Some favorites of theirs from the first book are Alligator Pie (this is a keep the rhythm song) and Baby Bumble Bee (this one has all the hand motions and facial expressions that we have always used with this song but Mr. Hanley’s version has some new verses.  Not only do we bring home a baby bumble bee but in the next verses we bring home a baby polar bear, a baby crocodile and a baby dinosaur. My kiddos think this is all hilarious so there is a lot of grinning during this song.  Alice the Camel is another favorite.  I used to sing it in Girl Scouts back in the day but it is brand new to them and they think it’s great. He also has some interesting verses to another old favorite – She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain.

Disc 2 – Another Circle of Songs

From the second CD, some favorites were Miss Lucy and Thinkboxer.  Miss Lucy doesn’t have any motions but the lyrics are funny.  This one starts out “Miss Lucy had a baby,” and continues to tell how he drank all the water in the bath and she called “the doctor, the doctor called the nurse, The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse . . .”  Then he added another version where instead of a baby she had a turtle.   Thinkboxer is a song where you touch a part of your body for each verse.  The thinkboxer is the head and then there are the nosesmeller, earlistener, mouthtalker and the chinchopper.  Mr. Hanley adds this instruction: “This song can go on and on by making up new names for various parts.”  Also in this collection is a song my dad used to sing back when he was in Boy Scouts around 1924 called John Jacob Jinkleheimer-Schmidt.  Mr. Hanley adds the same song in Spanish, entitled Juan Paco Pedro De La Mar.

Disc 3 – One More Circle of Songs

Some CD #3 favorites:  Mr. Knickerbocker, On Top of Spaghetti and Jingle Bells.  Mr. Knickerbocker is a song where you tap your hands on your knees to the beat (Mr. Hanley called this “Patsch”). On Top of Spaghetti is an old song we used to sing when I was a kid. There are no motions to go with it but, again, the lyrics are so funny they keep the kids entertained.  And of course, everyone knows Jingle Bells and every kid loves to sing it.  We have a whole set of rhythm instruments including bells so they love to play those as they sing it. My littles definitely are not shy about singing and love to belt these songs out.

My kids’ favorite songs were the ones where they patted out the beat on their knees. The ones where they could “dance” were a hit too. The ones that were really busy with a lot of motions were fun but took us longer to get right. They were the ones where a DVD would have been helpful rather than the still pictures. We powered through all three discs when we first received them but now we pick and choose each day so we have a nice variety but still do a lot of repeats of favorites. The kids quickly started to remember the lyrics and they burst into song when they are playing or riding in the car.  We do a song fest every day with our preschool work just to get everyone’s wiggles out and they love this. They love to sing and they love to move – perfect combination.

If you want to liven up your school day and your life – you might want to try these.

-Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016