Sunday, January 22, 2006


Cronin, Doreen. 2005. WIGGLE. Ill. by Scott Menchin. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0689863756 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-1]

This picture book with rhyming text features a wiggly dog and is excellent for getting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers moving around as they listen to the rhythmic story. The ludicrous language will have them howling with delight: “Can you wiggle in your underwear?” (Cronin 2005, 8) The pancake that winds up on the dog’s head is sure to please preschoolers who can recognize the absurdity of a pancake on the dog’s head. The language in the book helps them learn concepts such as SLOWLY, WIGGLE, TAIL, SHADOWS, BIG, and WIDE. The animals are more exotic than the farm animals common in picture books for preschoolers. There are gorillas, a crocodile, polar bears, bees, and snakes. Preschoolers can pretend to be each of the animals wiggling about, as they learn to recognize what those animals look like. WIGGLE will make the very young want to wiggle, jiggle, and dance. Grownups hope that they will be exhausted from the activity and take a long nap.

Scott Menchin’s digitally rendered illustrations enhance the text by providing photographs of everyday objects next to drawings of the dog and other animals. For example, the pancake on the dog’s head is a photograph as are the butterflies surrounding the snake, whereas the snake and the other animals depicted in the story are active, humorous drawings.

Use in a health or physical education class. Read the story aloud and have the readers wiggle to music such as that of The Monkees or Chubby Checker. Read the story during a “Books and Babies” program and have the babies and/or toddlers wiggle to active music, such as A CHILD’S CELEBRATION OF DANCE MUSIC produced by Music for Little People or Putumayo Kids’ WORLD PLAYGROUND.

Other books that make kids want to get up and dance:
Helldorfer, Mary-Claire. GOT TO DANCE. ISBN 0385326289
Mitton, Tony. DINOSAURUMPUS! ISBN 0439395143
Winthrop, Elizabeth. DANCING GRANNY. ISBN 0761451412

By Judy Brown McKenna

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