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The poetry of Dennis Lee is fast becoming the “Nursery Rhyme” of today’s child. The subject matter is current, using topics of interest to children. The rhyme is clever and catchy, and the images he portrays are humorous, stimulating the imagination. Children learn the poems easily and remember them for a long time.

Poetry plays a vital role in the Orff philosophy of music, exemplifying the prem-ise that music is a natural outgrowth of speech. The poems of Dennis Lee fit well into this philosophy as they lend themselves naturally to a variety of ostinato ac-companiments and melodic interpretation.

Children of all ages are fascinated by the magic and mystery of poetry. They are intrigued with onomatopoeia and nonsense syllables and are amused by unusual combinations of words and rhymes. Poetry can be a useful educational device in music as well as in language development, creative expression, and the development of social skills.

This book is a collection of selected poems by Dennis Lee from his books Alliga-tor Pie, Garbage Delight, Jelly Belly, and The Ice Cream Store. They have been or-chestrated in the Orff style. I invite you to share them with your students hoping that they will derive as much enjoyment from singing and playing these arrange-ments as my students have for many years.

I suggest that each selection be approached using the following basic format:

  • Present the poem in its totality.
  • Teach the words as suggested.
  • Repeat the text several times using a variety of vocal inflections, dynam-ics, and tempi until it is secure.
  • Add accompaniment parts one at a time always remembering to TEACH EVERYTHING TO EVERYBODY.
  • Allow opportunities for creative input from the children. Finish with a final performance.

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