Archambault, John. 2004. BOOM CHICKA ROCK. Ill. by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood. New York: Philomel. ISBN 0399235876 [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]
BOOM CHICKA ROCK is a captivating picture book that introduces the various ways numbers are used in everyday life. Though the book has a bewildering premise, the rhythmic language and funky illustrations will excite an audience. The text includes tremendous elements of rhythm, rhyme and repetition, though maybe overwhelmingly so. Any awkwardness is overshadowed by a fun, musical sound. For example,
Let’s all tango, do the fandango, tip-toe, tip-toe, rickety-rock
Sock Hop back to the kitchen clock. Zing! Zang! Boomerang!
The story is centered on adventurous kitchen mice that try to escape the house cat while they “dance” their way around the kitchen at night in search of left over birthday cake.
One feature that BOOM CHICKA ROCK does not include is predictability. Readers will not expect what comes next, especially when Max the cat paws at the clock. Although this is a counting book, the story is somewhat complex, especially how the numbers are related to telling time. The collage type illustrations do not have exact lines and seem to be free form. They work very well with the eccentric story, as does the font type, which is similar to handwriting. Because the illustrations, text and language mold so well together, this book is fascinating to read and share aloud.
Readers could share their memories about staying up late or imaginative stories about what might happen at night when the rest of the house is sleeping; such as what “games” the family pets might play.
The book references several dances, such as the tango. Invite a dance instructor to teach children some of these oldies but goodies.
Other books about counting and telling time:
Harper, Dan and Barry Moser. TELLING TIME WITH BIG MAMA CAT. ISBN 0152017380
Carle, Eric. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR ISBN 0399226907
By Lisa Erickson