Book #221: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom -- coverI was going to write about Louis Ehlert’s new book, entitled *Scraps, when I realized I hadn’t addressed her modern classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Everybody who knows little kids likely knows this famous book, but in case you don’t, it’s worth mentioning.

Louis Ehlert is so well-known I figure I may as well start with the book that made her famous. The text is also wonderful, obviously.  Here’s a sample, written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault:

A told B
and B told C
“I’ll meet you at the top
of the coconut tree.”
“Whee,” said D to E F G, “I’ll
beat you to the top of the coconut tree.”
Chicka chicka boom boom
Will there be enough room?

It’s ridiculous to talk about the plot of this book, which is about a bunch of letters that climb up a coconut tree and fall down. There’s a lot of discussion about their injuries:

skinned-knee D
stubbed-toe E
H is tangled up with I
J and K are about to cry

The book is so catchy it actually inspired a song.

And here’s a youtube video of the whole book. It’s only about three minutes long, which is pretty amazing considering how many copies of this book have been sold over the last twenty years.

The book is a little too young for my six-year-old and too old for my two-year-olds, but I read it to them anyway, for the sake of the blog. They loved it! The story really is kind of inane, but it’s wonderful, too. The way the letters represent real characters, the huge capitals and lower cases that help early literacy, the onomatopoeic  verses — read it a couple times. Even if the kids don’t ask for it again (which they will) the lyricism and rhythm will stay with you over the long haul. There are some interesting breaks in the rhythm, too, which keeps the pain of a tiresome rhyme in your head all day at something of a distance.  Try it out and see.  ABZ

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom -- all letters down

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*Scraps is about Lois Ehlert’s life as an artist.  If you are familiar with her work, this new picture book is a lovely discussion of how she became an artist.

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