Basic Book Information

Publisher: Dragonfly Books

Copyright: 1961

ISBN: 978-0-440-40829-1


Spier, Peter, illustrator

Book Type: Single Song Title

Reading Levels

Grade Level Equivalent:

Lexile Measure:

DRA Level:

Guided Reading Level:


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Book Description –   Single Song Title – Folk Songs

Song Type: Folk Song

Song Title: Fox Went out on a Starry Night, The

Source 1: Let's Do It Again! The Songs of ETM

Source 2: I Hear America Singing!

Source 3:

Comparison of book and folk song:  The version in the book is most similar to the Krull & Garns (2003) version because both are in simple duple. However, the Krull & Garns is in C major. The Richards (2003) version is in E flat and is in simple quadruple meter.

Book Description - Notation Description:

Notation: YES

Description: This notation in the book includes several instances of barred sixteenth notes in pairs rather than in sets of four.

Range: m7

Tonality: F major

Form: Strophic

Meter:  Simple Duple

Rhythm Comments: the notation in the book includes an eighth note anacrusis.

Book Description - Recordings and Media

Included Recording TYPE: CD

Description: Some school versions of the book include a CD that is quite good. The CD includes both a spoken and sung read aloud.

Independent Recording 1 Type: CD

Independent Recording 1 Description: Nickel Creek (2000).  Recorded by Nickel Creek Band, Sugar Hill Records Inc.


Web-based Media 1 Link (URL):

Web-based Media 1 Description: A live performance of the song presented by Sugarloaf Mountain, Apollo's Fire & Amanda Powell

Web-based Media 2 Link (URL):


Web-based Media 2 Description: Nickle Creek performs their version of "The Fox Went Out On a Chilly Night".

Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources: web-based resources Teaching Books 

Pedagogical Suggestions

Kodaly Lesson Ideas

Song Acquisition: YES

Aural Skills: YES

Music Reading: YES

Music Writing:

Singing Games:

Singing Skills:

Grade Level: 2nd grade - 3rd grade

Idea: After learning the song, students can be given the notation for the song, perhaps notation that has been aligned with the book. Then students can be given the task of identifying known melodic and rhythmic events.

Orff-Schulwerk Lesson Ideas

Speech as Rhythm:

Ostinato: YES

Creative Movement: YES


Instrumental Exploration:

Instrumental Accompaniment: YES


Grade level: Kindergarten - 2nd grade

Idea: Students might dramatize this book or create original movements for various repetitive sections of the song.

Grade level: Kindergarten - 2nd grade

Idea: instruments could be incorporated first through an improvisational discussion of which instruments might represent characters in the book and eventually a retelling of the story using the agreed upon instruments and patterns. As the work develops, these creations could be incorporated into an accompaniment.

Fine Arts Integration Lesson Ideas

Language Arts: YES


Science: YES

Social Studies: YES

Fine Arts:

Grade level: Kindergarten - 3rd grade

Idea: Although this book may be based on a song, the complexities and engaging nature of the text may mean that language arts is a more accessible entry point. However, this book facilitates a study of song form and the repetitive nature of the melody will allow students the opportunity to practice making musical adjustments as the words to the song change. The short refrain serves as an aural cue that students identify quickly. The only thing lacking from the book is notation on each page. Notation for an individual page or phrase might be added as children become more familiar with the song.

Generative Theory of Music Learning Lesson Ideas

Content/Concept: Storytelling in song, ballads

Context: "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night"

Behavior: Describing = physically (movement)

Mode: enactive (action based)

Level of Cognition: middle - translate

Grade level: Kindergarten - 2nd grade

Idea: The children work together to act out the story as it is reread by the teacher

Social Constructivist  Lesson Ideas

Real World Problems:

Peer Interaction: YES

Collaboration: YES

Open Ended Products:

Embedded Assessment: YES

Grade level: 1st grade - 3rd grade

Idea: Students can be given discussion prompts about the book and the song to first discuss and then present to the class.

Grade level: 3rd grade - 4th grade

Idea: Students can be given discussion prompts about the book and the song to first discuss and then present to the class.