• Sheena at Playsongs

The golden boat ~ Grand indoors screen games


A voice familiar to Playsongs followers, is that of Kevin Graal. Kevin has recently made a film for the DLWP Play Circle. The film is all about boats ~ there's a rhyme about boats, a story about a boy in a boat, and instructions for how to make a paper boat.


Here's what Kevin himself says about the making of the film.

"Play Circle at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea is a series of monthly creative sessions for preschool children and their families and carers. The emphasis of these sessions is on fun and being creative TOGETHER - adults and children alike. For Play Circle in May 2020, I made a short film inspired by artist Marc Bauer's new body of work - commissioned jointly by Drawing Room and De La Warr Pavilion - exploring the theme of people on boats throughout history. The film is aimed at a family audience and explores similar themes through song and story. It is designed to act as a stimulus for viewers young and old to create their own Play Circle sessions at home."


The rhyme Kevin uses in the film is The Golden Boat, which Kevin recorded for our Playsongs' audio collection, Five Little Owls. The film includes our audio recording of Kevin performing the rhyme.


The old nursery rhyme collection in which I came across The Golden Boat gave no indication of how it might be used. It is so clearly a finger play though. Kevin demonstrates the actions in his film. So here are the words to practise the actions with, so when you next have a sharing time with corona-distanced family, you can have some fun sharing them.


Maybe your screen companion could draw a picture of the golden boat and the ten little fairy men. It's a beautiful image to share together. What's the story? Where could they be rowing to? And who or what are they carrying in the golden boat?


This is the boat, the golden boat,

That sails on the silver sea.

And these are the oars of ivory white That lift and dip, lift and dip, Here are the ten little fairy men, Running along, running along,

To take the oars of ivory white That lift and dip, lift and dip,

That move the boat, the golden boat,

Over the silver sea.



The story Kevin tells also contains a golden boat with a silver oar, but there the similarity ends and a sneaky snaky dragon enters. He disguises his gruff voice to make the little boy Telesik believe that his mother is calling him home. Instead the dragon is waiting to capture Telesik, when he rows his boat back to the side of the lake. It is beautifully illustrated and even the sneaky snaky dragon is rather gorgeous. Toddlers may not be able to follow the story as well as their bigger siblings, but they will enjoy the colourful images.


The story reminded me of one, which was told by Louise Bennett-Coverley, the Jamaican folklorist. In this story, the trickster, Anancy the spiderman, tries to steal away Ma KayKay's daughter, Dora, by disguising his voice to sound like Ma KayKay. He fails miserably at first, but goes away and practises until he can sing just like Dora's mother. I'll tell you the rest of the story when I've got the stepladder out and reached the book down from the top of my bookshelves, alphabetically ordered top shelf to bottom.

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