Typically we’re not excited about children’s picture books. But, after learning of an upcoming illustrated version of Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names to All the Animals,” we started thinking about what other songs we’d like to see transformed into kiddie lit. From tracks that offer helpful advice to cautionary tales, we’ve compiled a list of songs that we feel warrant illustration for the stroller set. Add to it in the comments.
“Modern Art” – Art Brut
Not only are the lyrics amusing (“So I’m in the Pompidou/In Paris/And they’re more laid back about their art galleries”) but they could also teach children that modern art is fun.
“The Will of a Volcano” — Cloud Cult
The repetitive, affirmative lyrics of this song are the essence of parental hope. It could be a more subtle version of the children’s classic, Guess How Much I Love You.
“Snow is Gone” – Josh Ritter
This song is just so happy. And it would teach children to appreciate the first days of spring and potentially become ornithologists. Isn’t that every parent’s goal?
“Shankhill Butchers” – The Decemberists
This might seem a little morbid (cleavers! knives!), but all kids need a solid cautionary tale to keep them in check.
“Tree House” – I’m From Barcelona
Because every time we hear this song, we wish that we were seven years old and sitting in a tree house.
“Chinese Translation” – M. Ward
Because it’s never too early to learn about heartbreak.
“Vintage People” – Eisley
Although the storyline is a little more obscure in this one, the lyrics evoke some really cool imagery (“I have laughed up galaxies/Hats and glasses”). Hopefully the illustrator would go more whimsical than literal.
“Dirty Town” – Mother Mother
This song could cultivate an early appreciation for rural living and farming — kind of like a modern-day Old MacDonald.
“What Would I Want Sky” – Animal Collective
Although the point of this song is up for debate, there is something childlike in the uncertainty it articulates. Perhaps a kid could explain it.
“When I Grow Up” – Fever Ray
Any song with this title had to be on our list.