Wednesday, January 30, 2013


She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook

An Interview With Author Ken Guilmartin

Q: Music Together has been around for 25 years, but you just started writing and publishing children’s books! How did that idea come about?

KG:  It’s really an organic part of our evolution to create these beautiful storybooks. Our philosophy has always been about bringing children and their special grownups together through music. We choose songs that tell compelling stories or captivate the imaginations of children and grownups alike with creative and playful words, sounds and movements. We have always encouraged families in the Music Together program to use our songbooks like storybooks, but I always thought what fun it would be to take some of our most popular songs and make fully illustrated storybooks for families to enjoy. The illustrations bring the song alive visually, and stimulate more interaction—with the song, as well as among the readers.

Q: So the books are not just stories—they encourage interactivity? Can you explain that? 

KG: Well, the way we do songs is very interactive, so here’s opportunity to bring that into the book reading experience. Some grownups do this naturally when they read stories to children—they make extra comments, ask questions—or generally ham it up! I think the song makes that kind of interaction more likely. It gives both the adult and child a way to make the words really come alive. And since we emphasize an attitude of playing with the song rather than “performing” it, it’s especially liberating for grownups who sing only in cars and showers! It’s private, family time, not public performance time. We want to encourage this excitement and exploration, so with each storybook we include activity ideas that encourage using the illustrations and the story in exciting ways that inspire learning and imaginative play. 

Q: What kinds of activities do you mean? Which are your favorites?  

KG:  One Little Owl is an amusing book with lots of opportunity for creative play. Children can use their imaginations to put their own silly animals or other unusual things in the tree—even cows, backhoes, and dinosaurs! And since children delight in making animal sounds, once the book has become familiar, an adult can sing or say the beginnings of phrases—“one little owl said…,” and the child can “read” the sounds that each animal makes as the adult points to the words. Over time, children will link the sounds they enjoy to the words and letters on the page. 

In She Sells Sea Shells, we have pages at the end of the book suggesting that parents show their child the shells the girl in the story is collecting and then invite the child to find and point to the ones that are “brown and gray and blue, yellow, pink, white, green.” I also love that we suggest looking at the shells the girl is carrying on her tray and asking readers whether they are in the same order as in the song: “oyster, mussel, snail, periwinkle, clam.”  You can also look at the shells in the book with the child and then compare them to real shells, or to other things you may have found.  

In Hello, Everybody!, we have such fun ideas in the back of the book. Children love this song because it invites them to playfully explore the concrete and fascinating world around them, even after they put the book down. For example, we suggest singing “Hello to my bathtub, so glad to see you! Hello to the bubbles, so glad to see you, too”—and so on, throughout your day. We also suggest that as a family you could sing “hello” to everyone sitting at the dinner table or arriving for a birthday party. Sing “hello” to someone coming home from work or from preschool, or just from the other room—and watch the smiles appear!

Q: So these are not “just books”! 

KG:  Our mission is to encourage community and family music-making and bonding. Reading, singing, and connecting over the beautiful illustrations in these books all help achieve that. Our stories, the songs that go with them, and their stunning artwork do indeed make these “not just books.” And in this day and age, with electronic screens and even books on screen, it’s extra-special—for both you and your child—to snuggle together and get lost in a physical book with actual pages. 

Q: Do you think the next generations of children will not know what a “real” book is?

KG:  It does seem likely that everyone will be reading on screens of some kind. And there will be the advantages of sound and interactivity. But nothing can replace the touch and feel of a real book, the cadence of turning pages and discovering what’s “inside.” It’s easy to forget that children learn best when more than one sense is engaged—the visual, of course, but also kinesthesia, and even olfactory. But perhaps most important is the interaction with a parent or other grownup—books are so warm and cozy. It’s up to teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers to keep the magic of real books—like the magic of informal music-making—alive in their homes and classrooms. 

Q: What children’s books are among your own personal favorites?

KG: I remember a favorite when I was little was “Snuffy the Tugboat,” and also, the earlier works of Dr. Seuss. My daughter and I also loved reading “Goodnight Moon” together.

Illustrated by Bruno Merz ~ Bruno Merz worked as a greeting card illustrator before concentrating mostly on children's books. Based in the U.K., his other children's books include My Friend the Weather Monster and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Qeb Storytime Classics).

She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook

Award-winning Storybook:
2012 Dr. Toy 10 Best Audio-Visuals Award
2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products  (#6 ranking)
2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award
2012 Mom’s Choice Award
2012 Academics' Choice Smart Book Award

This charming Singalong Storybook tells the story of a young girl who travels by boat with her adorable animal friends to bring colorful seashells to nearby seashore vacationers.

The She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook is based on the popular song from the Music Together curriculum and the award-winning “Music Together Family Favorites” CD. The lyrics of this song include the well-known tongue-twister, and the soothing and mysterious melody reflects a sense of wonder about the many colors, shapes, and sizes of shells left by the creatures of the sea.

This 32-page, beautifully illustrated picture book inspires singing, pre-literacy learning, and imaginative play between children and their favorite adults.

Available in both hardback and board-book formats, the book also includes fun activity suggestions designed to stimulate learning and music-making at home and in the classroom.

Age/Grade Range: 1–8 years/Baby–2nd grade

Based on songs from the Music Together song collections, these beautifully illustrated picture books inspire singing, pre-literacy learning, and imaginative play between children and their favorite adults.

Available in both hardback and board-book formats, the books include fun activity suggestions designed to stimulate learning and music-making at home and in the classroom. Scroll down to see our storybook offerings.

Where to buy the book Music Together StoreAmazon

Watch the Video: 
Using Your Singalong Storybook Musically

GIVEAWAY ~ U.S. residents only
Provided by  Rodi Company Public Relations & Marketing
Win a HARDCOVER Copy of 
She Sell Sea Shells
 1 Winner
Just leave a comment below with your email.
(I need your email to contact you if you are the winner)
Ends February 8th, 2013
Winner announced on Feb. 9th, 2013

My Thoughts

This story is about a little girl that collects sea shells and travels by boat up and down the shore selling them to people vacationing on the sea shore.  Along with her in the boat is he dog.  Everyone is happy when they see the girl and her sea shell.

Music Together, She Sells Sea Shells takes books to another level and that is music and sensory perception.  You and the child can singalong as you are reading the whimsical rhymes. This rhyme is a very old rhyme children have enjoyed from years past.  

The Music Together website has more to offer that a storybook.  I love that the book is  interactive in many ways. There are many activities like learning colors, objects, counting and music of course.  We all know most children love to sing and can memorize the little ditties very quick.  It will have you on your feet dancing and singing with the child.  Be prepared to enjoy yourself.  Encourage the child to use musical instruments even those of your own making would do.

The illustrations are colorful and will have the child's imagination going beyond the book to their own little world of imagination.  All children should be taught to us all of there senses of sight, sound, and touch.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from The  Rodi Company Public Relations & Marketing  for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my honest opinion.


  1. This book looks awesome! I love that it is a book and a song. This would be great for an ocean unit in my special education preschool classroom! Love the addition of the youtube video in your post!

  2. This does look like a fun book. The kids do tend to like books combined with music.

    hg195 at yahoo dot com


I really love comments so please leave me some interesting tidbits.