A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 11, 2015
Criss-Cross Applesauce

The book Criss-Cross Applesauce (1978) by B. A. King and Tomie DePaola contains the children’s rhyme:

Criss-cross applesauce
Spiders crawling up your back!
Spiders here, Spiders there.
Spiders even in your hair.
Cool breeze, tight squeeze
Now you’ve got the shivers!


Instructions along with the rhyme teach how to gently play with a baby (blowing air with “cool breeze” and a hug with “tight squeeze,” for example).

Sitting cross-legged had been known as “Indian-style,” but kindergarten teachers popularized “criss-cross applesauce” in the 1980s and 1990s.


Wiktionary: criss-cross applesauce
Adverb
criss-cross applesauce
(not comparable)
1. (childish, US, regional, idiomatic) (of sitting): cross-legged
Usage notes
Generally used by nursery school and primary school teachers to children, sometimes followed by “spoons in the bowl” to mean “hands in your lap”, strengthening analogy with a bowl of applesauce; alternatively, “spoons in your bowl”, “spoons in your lap”.

Spelling varies, as it is primarily said, not written, but “criss-cross applesauce” and “criss cross applesauce” are most common.

OCLC WorldCat record
Criss-cross applesauce
Author: B A King; Tomie DePaola
Publisher: Danbury, N.H. : Addison House : Black Ice Publishers, ©1978.
Edition/Format: Print book : Juvenile audience : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
Photographs of animals, trees, the seashore, and other scenes are linked with children’s drawings and imaginative descriptions of their subject matter.
Pg. ?:
Criss-cross applesauce
Spiders crawling up your back!
Spiders here, Spiders there.
Spiders even in your hair.
Cool breeze, tight squeeze
Now you’ve got the shivers!

Google Books
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
University of Chicago Press
Volume 44
1990
Pg. 5:
The familiar [...] comfortably rub shoulders with the not-so-familiar ("Criss-cross applesauce. Spiders climbing up your back. Cool breeze, tight squeeze, and now you’ve got the shivers").

Google Groups: alt.religion.kibology
Instant Review; Grandson Almost Piercing Testicle
Kevin S. Wilson
7/6/06
(...)
A friend who teaches first grade informs me that she and the other teachers are forbidden from instructing kids to sit on the floor “Indian style.” Instead, they tell them to sit “criss-cross, applesauce.”

She also tells me that it isn’t enough to tell first-graders that they have to remain quiet and still. You have to tell them “Sit criss-cross, applesauce; hold your own hands; and touch your lips together.”

Google Groups: North Regional Library On the Horizon
September newsletter
North Regional Library
8/29/06
On the Horizon
September 2006
Vol. 13 Issue 9
200 Horizon Drive Raleigh, NC 27615
(...)
Rhymes of the Month
Criss Cross Applesauce

Criss cross applesauce (draw x on back)
Spiders crawling up your back! (tickle back)
Tight squeeze, cool breeze, (hug, blow on neck)
Now you’ve got the shiveries!

Urban Dictionary
crisscross applesauce
The pansy way of referring to sitting “Indian style.”
I like rainbows, pink unicorns, and sitting crisscross applesauce while I hold hands in a love circle and sing Jesus loves me.
by ‘eh June 17, 2007

Grasping for objectivity in my subjective life
Modern Day Vocabularic Brainwashing.
posted on October 21, 2010 by Rachel Callahan
Filed Under: “Deep” Thoughts by Rachel, Actually Possibly Informational, Kids: The Experience., This is TONGUE IN CHEEK People - Don’t take me Seriously., Utter Silliness
(...)
The term “Indian-Style”, in regards to the seated, cross-legged position, can no longer be found in the English language.
I know. Shocking.
It has been replaced with a much sillier, much less logical, much more obnoxious phrase.
Criss-Cross Applesauce.
That’s right. APPLESAUCE.

OCLC WorldCat record
Criss cross applesauce : songs that teach
Author: Denise Forney; Forney Family (Musical group)
Publisher: [S.l.] : Mission FG Music, 2011.
Edition/Format: Music CD : CD audio : Popular music : Juvenile audience : English

Askville
February 15, 2011
i>where did the phrase criss cross applesauce come from

Answer from *Carla*
The phrase is taken from a children’s nursey rhyme.

I learned it while working in a Pre School back in the 80’s when it was not PC to say, “Sit Indian style” any longer (as if it ever was!)

Criss-cross applesauce,,,,
Pockets on the floor...(referenced back poskets, thus, bottoms on the floor)
Hands in your lap…
And wiggle no more!

Most Pre School teachers use this phrase. But the reall rhyme goes like this…

Criss Cross Applesauce (make X on baby’s back)
Spiders climbing up your back (tickle on back)
Cool breeze (blow on baby’s neck)
Tight squeeze (give a hug)
Now you’ve got the shivers! (tickle on back)

YouTube
Criss Cross Applesauce - Rhyme
WCCLS Birth2Six
Published on Jul 11, 2012
Criss-Cross Applesauce

Criss, cross. Applesauce.
(draw an X on child’s tummy or back)

Spiders crawling up your back.
(walk fingers up tummy or back)

Cool breeze.
(gently blow on child’s tummy or back)

Tight squeeze.
(give child a hug)

And now you’ve got the shivers!!!
(playfully tickle child)

YouTube
Criss-Cross Applesauce (a carpet transition song for kids)
Harry Kindergarten Music
Published on Aug 24, 2014
Song: Criss-Cross Applesauce
Educational Content: transitioning on the carpet; sitting appropriately; following directions

This song is a terrific transition rhyme for carpet time! As students recite each of the lyrics, they should physically be doing each of the directions they are verbalizing (i.e. sitting criss-cross applesauce, folding hands in their laps, etc...) Thanks to Mrs. Mary Jane Rudakewich from Tyrone Elementary School in Tyrone, PA (A retired librarian!) for coming up with the original idea for this song! This song is FREE to download at my website below…
Lyrics:
Criss-cross
apple-sauce
Hands on lap
ginger snap
Back straight
chocolate shake
on my rear
root beer
Finger on lips
Lips zipped

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, July 11, 2015 • Permalink