Birds, Beasts, Bugs, and Fishes


Timeless songs about animals for sing-a-longs.

I’ve always been horrible at remembering words to songs but Pete Seeger’s lyrics and melodies stick in my head. I think it’s their storytelling and humor combined with a hint of political commentary that makes them so delightful to listen to. Even now, years since I first heard it, saying “ticky-tacky” over and over again while singing “Little Boxes” has a very satisfying feel.

For kids, Seeger’s Birds, Beasts, Bugs, and Fishes (Little and Big), is an excellent pick. Listening to the album still makes me giggle. Songs like “I Had a Rooster” escalate to a cacophony of animal sounds that children can easily sing along with and be endlessly entertained. “Alligator, Hedgehog” plays like a young child naming every single animal she knows. Trying to get the whole song out in one breath — it’s a fast one — will bring on the laughs, too.

For adults listening with children, these are not songs with bells and whistles composed to stick in your head like commercial jingles. This music is soft, quiet, and interactive. Not only will kids have fun hearing it and singing along, but they’ll be learning something about the living creatures living in the world around them — even if it’s that there are glow worms and bats out there.