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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Alphabet and Rhyming Fun

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Cover art of children's alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Simon & Schuster
The infectious rhyming text and the exuberant illustrations of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom have made this children's alphabet picture book a favorite read aloud for preschoolers. The amusing alphabet book was written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: The Story

The story in this entertaining alphabet book is a simple one. It starts with A telling B and B telling C to meet "at the top of the coconut tree." The letters, in alphabetical order, begin to climb the tree. They are having a wonderful time, but as more and more letters climb up the coconut tree, the tree begins to bend over more and more until "Chicka chicka. . . BOOM! BOOM!," the letters all fall off. Comforted by their parents and other adults, the letters get untangled, again in alphabetical order. The story ends with A daring the others to climb the tree again, a subtle invitation to read the story again and again.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Its Appeal

What makes such a simple story so entertaining? The text by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault is lively and rhythmic. The repetition of the words "Chicka chicka boom boom!" positively invite children to chant them along with the person reading the book. Lois Ehlert's collages are full of strong colors and movement that complement and extend the story. Ehlert uses lowercase letters to illustrate the excited young letters and uppercase letters to illustrate their parents and other adults.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: The Authors

During his career, Bill Martin Jr wrote more than 200 children's books. Both my children and grandchildren particularly loved his Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, which was illustrated by Eric Carle. In fact, I have read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? so many times, I know it by heart. Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault collaborated on a number of children's books, including Here Are My Hands and Listen to the Rain.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: The Illustrator

Lois Ehlert is an award-winning illustrator, who has also both written and illustrated a number of books, including Color Zoo, a 1990 Caldecott Honor Book. She specializes in collage. Some of my other favorite Ehlert books are Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow, Hands, and Leaf Man.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: My Recommendation

I would recommend this book for babies to six-year-olds. Children of all ages will enjoy the rhythm, story, and illustrations. The older the children, the more they will want to chant along. They will also enjoy identifying the letters of the alphabet for you.

In fact, if your child is an especially big fan of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, be sure and take a look at the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom costume featured on About: Family Crafts. It's spectacular! (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1989. ISBN: 067167949X)

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