Saturday, June 11, 2011

Camp Skeeter Songfest : Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer and Other Silly Dilly Songs by Alan Katz

(to the tune of "Yankee Doodle")

On the bus ride
Off to camp,
Alone with 50 strangers.
Kids are crying,
Seats are damp.
Ahead...who knows the dangers!

Ever wonder who comes up with those songs we all have sung at one camp or another? We know that most of them borrow their tunes, but do they actually have lyricists, or are they just another strand of urban folklore passed down by generations of campers?

After all, the indignities and group dynamics at camp don't change that much over time, even if it's now a space camp or computer camp or, egads, math camp. There are still mystery meals at the mess hall, slovenly bunkmates, and various indignities on the sports fields, in the arts and crafts tent, or in the, er, latrines. And to chronicle these memorable events in song, the satiric and goofy team of Katz and Catrow are back with their latest compendium of kid songs, this one being their Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer!: And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs Margaret K. Elderry Books, 2011). Here's a musical tribute, to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel," to that first cousin of Charles Schulz' Pigpen, in "Jim Needs a Shower:"

My friend Jim is a nice kid;
He tells jokes by the hour.
But one fact just cannot be hid.
Jim needs a shower!

He runs, he jumps,
He hops, he flips.
In baseball he's got power.
Shower time is what he skips.
Jim needs a shower!

In the title song's tribute to those non-paying but numerous guests at every summer camp, Katz has penned his ditty to the un-beloved mosquito to the melody of the venerable "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean:"

Mosquitoes are ruining my summer,
Mosquitoes from morning till night.
Mosquitoes have made life a bummer.
'Cause it's only me that they bite.

Itch, itch, scratch, scratch....., etc.

Among the other aspects of camp life subjected to Katz' and Catrow's ironic tunesmithery are water sports, the ever-popular mess hall, the camp talent show tryouts, and those iconic lop-sided arts and crafts creations. This latest joins their other sophisticated and silly songbooks, which began with Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, and include On Top of the Potty: And Other Get-Up-and-Go Songs, Are You Quite Polite?: Silly Dilly Manners Songs, Where Did They Hide My Presents?: Silly Dilly Christmas Songs, and Going, Going, Gone!: And Other Silly Dilly Sports Songs. all illustrated in David Catrow's downright bizarre but exuberant comic style.

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