Kids & MusicIt’s time to add one of my old favorites, “Wheels on the Bus,” to the Ukulele page. I think that everyone has their own way of singing this song, and I always enjoy hearing a new or altered verse, as it demonstrates the folklore process in action.

For example, as soon as I became a father myself (a while ago; my daughter’s 22 now), I figured out pretty quickly that saying, “shh, shh, shh” to a crying baby didn’t work very well, but rocking her and saying, “I love you” (or, in fact, singing a song like “Wheels on the Bus”) worked better. So I have sung that verse the “I love you” way ever since, as you’ll see. (Although a recursive verse about quieting the crying baby by singing “Wheels on the Bus” does appeal to the post-modernist in me. But how would it go?)

The parents on the bus sing “Wheels on the Bus,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Wheels on the Bus.”

The parents on the bus sing “Wheels on the Bus,” all through the town…


But anyway, you’re probably familiar with Lenny Hort and G. Brian Karas’s picture book Seals on the Bus (Holt, 2000). It – if not my post-modern ramblings – should inspire you to mess around with songs like these. You’ll see on the sheet that I also add a verse about “the dog on the bus” when I sing this song because when you ride a bus in NYC, you’ll often see people bring on small dogs in carry bags. Do any of you make up your own verses to any of these common songs? If you do, please pass them on.