No one knows who originally penned this traditional English verse, whose French origins referred to Louis XIV. But Maggee Spicer and her husband, popular children’s author and entertainer Richard Thompson, have turned the familiar nursery rhyme upside down in this charming version.
The Grand old Duke of York has many soldiers eager to do his bidding. And in this romping tale they dutifully go up, down-and neither-up-nor-down-as ordered. But although these soldiers have obviously been trained to march, they have little discipline and no sense of decorum. No matter where they happen to be on the hill, they might decide to stop for a game of chess or tag…or even catch armadillos in bags. Other times they cheat at card games, then they play fair…sometimes they even wrestle grizzly bears, or dress up in silly suits, or play basketball with gnomes. This is one army that everyone wants to join.
The acclaimed authors of When They Are Up do not take their soldiers too seriously, nor does artist Kirsti Anne Wakelin, whose colorful army looks like they just stepped out of a deck of playing cards. This fun and rhythmic tale will appeal to all listeners who like their verses bouncing and rollicking, with a huge dose of silly.
– Includes a page of the complete lyrics, accompanied by the music