Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book #4: How Do You Wokka-Wokka? By Elizabeth Bluemle, Illustrated by Randy Cecil

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Warning: This is NOT a story for bedtime! It will induce jumping, dancing, wiggling, but not sleep. It’s also one you might want to practice a couple of times before reading it for an audience. It’s got some Seuss-worthy tongue twisters! The pages illustrate the different ways you can “wokka-wokka.” Each child in the book has their own particular way of wokka-wokka-ing. It has a great, but subtle message: as Bluemle writes, “Nobody wokkas in the same wokka way.” Cecil’s illustrations are full of movement and color, and Bluemle’s rhythmic rap-like verse will make everyone want to wokka-wokka.

The easiest way to make this book interactive is to do your own version of each wokka-wokka and get the kids up to try it out with you. What kid doesn’t want to wokka-wokka “like a fish flop on a dock-a-flipa-floppa off-the-docka put-me-back-in-wata-wata?” Then after you finish the story it can be fun to ask each kid how they wokka-wokka. Add some fun music to keep the rhythm going. This book would be wonderful for a storytime about jazz and is a great way to introduce the idea of vocal scatting to kids.

I would love to include it in a storytime on nonsense words. There are lots of fun songs (Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink, A Ram Sam Sam, Waddle-Ee-Atch-A) that would be a fun way to keep talking about how nonsense words are used. One of my personal favorites is the call and response song, Tongo. My mom learned it as a Girl Scout counselor and we used to sing it in the car. Here are the lyrics as I remember them, although the video I’ve linked to has slightly different ones. It doesn’t really matter what words you use, they’re all nonsense anyway! Just make sure to wait for a response after each line.
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Jim diddy my ee my ee ay
Happy happy tong guy oh
Ooo ahhh ay
Mally oh mally ay

Collage art is the perfect mate for a nonsense book. If you have the time, bring in old magazines and let kids cut letters and words out to form their own nonsense poem. If you don’t have that much time, or your kids aren’t handy with scissors yet, you can pre-cut some nonsense for them. Kick it up a notch and have them decorate the sheet with crayons, pictures cut out of magazines, rubber stamps, etc. 


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