January can be a rough month when you have a little one. The holidays are over, and with them the excitement of all the activities that lead up to the big celebrations. The weather's not always great (at least not here in the northern climes) so trips to the park are few and far between, or maybe nonexistent. All those new toys are starting to lose their luster and soon moms and dads hear the dreaded "what can I do??"
This is when a trip to the library is in order, not only to load up on fun books to help while away the winter doldrums, but also to look for picture books you can pair with indoor activities. This could be a craft you make, an opportunity for dress-up or other imaginative play, or cooking up some delicious treats. (If you want inspiration for doing this kind of thing, I highly recommend the excellent blog Playing by the Book. This blogger and her kiddos do all kinds of crazy wonderful things inspired by the books they read - oh how I wish we could have playdates at their house!)
And that's where today's book comes in - I can see crafty moms and dads having a wonderful time conjuring up activities to go along with the new picture book by Wynton Marsalis, Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!. Like one of our favorite library finds of this past year, Drum City by Thea Guidone, this rhythmic delight is sure to get you up out of the reading chair and marching around to the beat. Really, I dare you not to!
The premise is pretty simple, which is a good fit for the heavily onomatopoeic text: a young boy explores his world, noting the sounds that occur from the everyday objects around him. There's the rumbling garbage truck, the squeaky back door, the clicky ticking of the alarm clock by the bed. And each group of sounds is compared to a particular musical instrument - so that alarm clock's ticking is like the plucking of a violin, for instance. Soon you can't help but be swept away by the jazzy rhythm that our young hero finds pretty much everywhere.
Visually this is a riot as well. Paul Rogers' bold illustration style causes the objects Marsalis mentions to take on a life all their own. You can practically hear the music of the jazzy washboard player, and the marching tuba players take over the whole spread. The pictures are colorful and fun, adding to the whole sense of wonder and exploration - and fun!
Don't read this one if you don't like doing sound effects -- Sprout's daddy is much better with this book than Mommy is, because he can make all kinds of kooky sounds -- and be ready to do some music of your own once you're done. There's loads of opportunity to get up and pound out a beat, whether it's by making a drum out of art supplies or learning to play the spoons. The possibilities in this jazz-infused title are endless, just like the music you'll suddenly be hearing everywhere you go!
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis, published by Candlewick Press
Sample: "Our back door squeeeaks. A nosy mouse eeek-eeek-eeeks! / It's also how my sister's saxophone sometimes speee. . . . eeaks."