Itsy Bitsy Spider

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"Itsy Bitsy Spider"
Roud #11586
Written by Traditional
Language English
Form Nursery rhyme

"Itsy Bitsy Spider" (also known as "Incy Wincy Spider" and several other similar sounding names) is a popular nursery rhyme that describes the adventures of a spider as it ascends, descends, and re-ascends the downspout or "waterspout" of a gutter system (or, alternatively, the spout of a teapot or open-air reservoir). It is usually accompanied by a sequence of gestures that mimic the words of the song. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 11586.

Lyrics[edit]

A commonly used version uses these words and gestures:[1]

Words Fingerplay

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

Alternately touch the thumb of one hand to the index finger of the other.
Hold both hands up and wiggle the fingers as the hands are lowered.
Sweep the hands from side to side.
Raise both hands and sweep to the sides to form a semicircle (the sun).
Wiggle fingers upwards.
(as in the first line)

Origins[edit]

The song can be found in publications including an alternate version in the book, Camp and Camino in Lower California (1910),[2] where it was referred to as [the classic] "Spider Song".[3] It appears to be a more adult version of the song using “blooming, bloody” instead of itsy bitsy. It was later published in one of its several modern versions in Western Folklore, by the California Folklore Society (1948),[4] Mike and Peggy Seeger's, American Folk Songs for Children (1948),[5] and The Growing Family: A Guide for Parents by Maxwell Slutz Stewart (1955).[citation needed] In 2013 Maziar Bahari's company Off-Centre Productions created an animated version of the song featuring an animated mouse character called Journo.[6]

Lyrics as described in 1910 as being from the 'classic' "Spider Song":[3]

Oh, the blooming, bloody spider went up the spider web,
The blooming, bloody rain came down and washed the spider out,
The blooming, bloody sun came out and dried up all the rain,
And the blooming, bloody spider came up the web again.

Recordings & Public Media[edit]

The popular nursery rhyme has been covered and sampled a numerous of times. In Germany the traditional rhyme is known as "Spannenlanger Hansl...". Bart Simpson sang the rhyme in the tenth episode "Lisa's First Word" of season four of The Simpsons. It was also featured in the children's program Dora The Explorer and in the South Park episode "Something You Can Do with Your Finger". Other recordings have been made by Detlef Cordes, Raffi & Barney, Ralph Covert and Ralph's World.


1955: Maxwell Slutz Stewart on the album "The Growing Family - A Guide for Parents"
1974: California Folklore Society on "Western Folklore"
1987: Carly Simon on the "Heartburn" Soundtrack
1989: Nicole Kidman on the "Dead Calm" Soundtrack
1990: Ben Vereen on "Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme"
1995: Danish-Norwegian pop band Aqua, then known by their original band name Joyspeed, released a single only Itsy Bitsy Spider
2002: The Mars Volta sampled the rhyme on their song "Eunuch Provocateur" from their extended play Tremulant
2002: Joey DeLuxe on the "Eight Legged Freaks" Soundtrack
2005: Ariel "Cecilia" Gade on the "Dark Water" Soundtrack
2006: EliZe feat. Jay Colin released Itsy Bitsy Spider on the album "In Control"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Words and gestures to "Itsy Bitsy Spider"
  2. ^ North, Arthur Walbridge (1910). Camp and Camino in Lower California. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company. 
  3. ^ a b North, Arthur Walbridge (1910). Camp and Camino in Lower California. pp. 279–280. 
  4. ^ Hansen, Marian. "Children's Rhymes Accompanied by Gestures," Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 53
  5. ^ Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Online search, retrieved 19 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Itsy Bitsy Spider". YouTube. 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 

External links[edit]