Ukulele Books

Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids

Learn the three basic chords C, F and G7 and 25 songs with ‘Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids’ by Mike Jackson. This is a super little book to help kids (of all ages) learn how to play ukulele.

The book uses a simple method of adding coloured stickers to the fretboard to allow quick identification of where to place your fingers to play a chord.

With a little assistance from an older person kids as young as five will find it a helpful resource. There is also a play-along CD that comes with the book that allows you to feel the beat and improve your technique.

You can buy it at a reasonable price too. I’ve found the cheapest place to buy it is from an Amazon site at US $10. But if you live in New Zealand try NZ $23 on Trademe, or your local music shop.

It contains 25 mainly Australian traditional songs, with a few that have had the lyrics adapted to add more interest. The book starts with easy to play songs, and the further you go through the book the more difficult the songs become. The songs it contains are:

  • Five Little Monkeys
  • Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree
  • Frere Jacques/R2D2/Young Bart Simpson
  • Row Row Row Your Boat
  • Baby Bumble Bee
  • The Doggie Stole A Sausage
  • Found a Peanut
  • Did You Ever See A Lassie
  • Black Socks and Blue Jeans
  • A Nosey Song
  • Tennessee Wigwalk
  • Hot Cross Bunny
  • I’m A Nut
  • Jingle Bells
  • Frog Went A Courtin’
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)
  • On My Ukulele
  • One Man Went To Mow
  • This Old Man
  • Alice
  • The Camel
  • The Bear Went Over The Mountain
  • Horse Named Bill
  • Ging Gang Goolie
  • Bring Back My Neighbours To Me
  • Dinky Di

Watch these young kids we’ve taught to play Baby Bumble Bee:


I recently purchased the book ‘Ukulele for Kids – A Beginner’s Guide with Step-by-Step Instruction for Ukulele’. I can assure you the book wasn’t written by me, but by a much more accomplished ukulele player/author by the name of Chad Johnson and published by Hal Leonard.

What lessons does the book cover?

  • Selecting your ukulele
  • Parts of the ukulele
  • Holding the ukulele
  • Hand position
  • The C chord
  • The F chord
  • Changing chords
  • The C7 chord
  • The A minor chord
  • The G chord
  • The note A (finger picking)
  • The note B
  • The note C
  • The note E
  • The note F
  • The note G
  • Note review
  • The B flat chord
  • The notes C & D
  • Three-four time
  • The shuffle feel (strumming)
  • The G minor chord.

The book uses a range of popular songs to support each of the above lessons. Songs are included by artists such as:

  • The Beatles – Yellow Submarine
  • Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender
  • The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl
  • Ray Charles – You Are My Sunshine
  • Bob Marley – Three Little Birds.

The book also has a CD with 30 tracks for demonstration to help with the above lessons.

Who Is It Suited For?

The book would be a good starting place for teachers or parents who want to teach not only kids how to play, but themselves too. I’d also recommend it for kids from about 10 years of age who want to teach themselves how to play the ukulele.

What is missing?

The only small complaint I have about the book is that it does not have a contents page. This would make it easier to go to various parts of the book much more quickly.

Is it worth buying, and where can I buy it?

Yes it is. Its list price is US $12.99, and can be bought at various online sites like Amazon and Fishpond (NZ) The book gives ukulele beginners a good grounding in learning how to play the ukulele. Once you know how to play you are on your way to playing a whole range of songs.


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