Monday, July 11, 2011

Library Find - How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle

For me, one of the best things about being a mama is going to the library with Sprout. He LOVES our regular Friday trip to pick out books, made even better when the weather is nice by a ride to and from on the bike (or "yike" in Sprout-speak). It's been a little weird for him since summer reading started and the library is a lot busier -- less room to spread out and read books, more competition for the rocking chair and the bead rollercoaster toys. But still it's a lot of fun to see what there is to discover, and even more fun to watch him discover books that I already know and love.

On one of our last trips Sprout stumbled across How Do You Wokka-Wokka?  by Elizabeth Bluemle. I remembered reading Wokka when it first came out, because frequently read the ShelfTalker blog that Bluemle, a bookstore owner, writes with co-owner Josie Leavitt. So I had given the book a quick read, but wasn't that familiar with it. But then Sprout pulled it off the shelf in that oh-so-random toddler way and we fell hard for Wokka. In fact, that's how it's referred to now around our place, just Wokka. Solo consistently chooses it for one of his bedtime selections, and it never fails to deliver.

So what's great about Wokka? Well, lots of diversity, for one thing, which makes me happy. It's always a good thing when the group of kids represents a whole spectrum of skin tones, rather than having one or two brown faces only. The pictures are fun too -- boys and girls skipping rope, dancing their way through the city streets, making friends along the way. You can sense the motion in the artwork and it makes you want to jump right into the book and "shimmy shake" along with the characters.

Oh, and did I mention how deliciously tricky Wokka is to read aloud? You've got to bring it in a big way when you read this one, it's not for the faint of heart, with its rhythmic rhymes and trippy dance-along cadences. Sprout loves it when I get tongue-tied as I read -- it's just part of the fun. He also loves to say "wokka" along with me, adding a special flourish when we get to the last line of the book "Yeah, you gotta wokka!".

This one will get you up off the carpet and trying out your groovy dance moves in no time. How do you wokka-wokka?

How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by Randy Cecil; published by Candlewick
All ages
Source: Library
Sample quote: "Some days you wake up and you just gotta wokka / Say 'hey' to your neighbors up and down the blocka."

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