Philadelphia Chickens – an imaginary musical comedy revue (in the form of a picture book)

th-26Infectious showtunes performed by an all-star cast playing original Boynton characters in an imaginary musical revue.


Bibliographic Info:  Boynton, Sandra  Philadelphia Chickens Workman Publishing (2002) 64pp  $16.95  Formats:  Hardcover with CD, ISBN:  978-0761126362  Interest Level: preK-grade 3  Genre: Song, Comedy and Humor  Themes: Music, Animals, Dance

Summary:  Philadelphia Chickens is a songbook with CD that includes 17 1/2 illustrated story-poems by Sandra Boynton.  Composer Michael Ford, who also composed Boynton’s Rhinoceros Tap, transforms these story-poems into original songs performed by many well-known actors, including Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Eric Stoltz and Scott Bakula.


StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Philadelphia Chickens was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on May 8th, 2015 and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW collection at storytimeWOW.com.


th-27Review:  Philadelphia Chickens is a wacky, hilarious and toe-tapping musical show in a picture book. The piece is more than a book, it’s an event.  Infectious showtunes are performed by an all-star cast who play original Boynton characters in an imaginary musical revue.  Standout numbers include “Cows”, “Pig Island”, “Snuggle Puppy” and “Be Like a Duck”.  The cast of childlike animal personalities appeal to kids of all ages.  As always, Boynton’s colorful hand-drawn illustrations are full of visually expressive humor and emotion.

Storytime:  th-28 Storytime is a great occassion and opportunity to share Philadelphia Chickens with groups of children.  They will love it.  Choose one story-poem/song to include in your weekly program throughout a Philadelphia Chickens-storytime sing-along series that lasts three months.  In these storytimes, package and introduce the sing-along series and project your chosen story poem’s illustrations and lyrics onto a big screen to create a hilarious, enjoyable, toe-tapping and highly engaging sing-along story group experience.

Awards:  Grammy nominee. #1 New York Times bestseller, Recording Industry Association of America Platinum album.

Read-alikesBlue Moo by Sandra Boynton, Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton, Dog Train by Sandra Boynton, Rhinocerous Tap by Sandra Boynton,

Links:  author’s website, Amazon

Bio (from Amazon.com):  Sandra Boynton is a popular American cartoonist, children’s author, songwriter, producer, and director. Since 1974, Boynton has written and illustrated over fifty children’s books and seven general audience books, including five New York Times Bestsellers. More than 60 million of her books have been sold–“mostly to friends and family,” she says. She has also written (with Michael Ford) and produced five albums of renegade children’s music. Three of her five albums have been certified Gold [over 500,000 copies sold] and “Philadelphia Chickens,” nominated for a Grammy, has been certified Platinum [over 1 million copies sold.] Boynton has also directed six music videos of her songs, including the award-winning “One Shoe Blues” starring B B King. She lives in rural New England, and her studio is in a barn with perhaps the only hippopotamus weathervane in America.

Reviews:  Common Sense Media, Goodreads

I chose to review this musical in a picture book because it’s full of Sandra Boynton’s unique brand of humor and comedic characters.  And moreover, storytime deserves more showstoppers.

3Make Reading More Fun


Written by Tom Schween

Itsy Bitsy Spider – the ultimate itsy bitsy fingerplay video

61DM0Kgvi-L._SY355_A shining example of music video’s power as a teaching tool in a storytime context.

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Bibliographic Info:  Babypants, Caspar  Itsy Bitsy Spider from More Please!  Baby Pants Music (2009)  Format: CD, MP3, Children’s Music Video  Platform: YouTube  Channel: Caspar Babypants on YouTube  Interest Level: babies, toddlers and preK  Genre: Sing-along, Fingerplay  Themes: Movement (fine motor), Musical Instruments


StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Itsy Bitsy Spider was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on March 23rd, 2015 and has been selected for the MusicVideoWOW collection.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.


itsy5Summary:  In his expanded musical video fingerplay version of Itsy Bitsy Spider from his CD entitled “More Please!“, Caspar Babypants begins with the song’s traditional lyrics and fine motor movements.  He then invents new lyrical verses with fresh corresponding movements.  All this is portrayed onscreen for children to watch, follow and learn.

Review:  Itsy Bitsy Spider proves that music video can be used as an effective teaching tool for children’s storytime.  The video’s concept is both simple and smart.  Babypants expanded the traditional storytime sing-along by inventing brand new lyrics and movements.  Watchers get to learn both the vintage and new.  For children, the effect of experiencing new pieces to this sing-along is both surprising and engaging.  For those who already know the song and fingerplay, Babypants takes this activity goes from an old routine to a new challenge. 


itsy2Storytime:  Have fun helping children learn the lyrics and fingerplay movements while watching Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Then turn off the video and use the CD version of the song (or sing it a capella).  Watch children, acknowledge their accuracy and applaud their success.


Itsy Bitsy Spider meets the StorytimeWOW Standards for Music Videos. This video:

  • is a vintage favorite with universal appeal
  • has that “WOW” factor (singing and moving-along with the fingerplay is enjoyable for groups of children)
  • is well-suited for repetition (once you teach it to groups, this video may be regularly utilized as a storytime element)
  • provides viewers with an educational takeaway (children learn Itsy Bitsy Spider’s old and new movements and get to practice vocalizing along the way)
  • is free of squirmy moments
  • hits the storytime target audience’s interest level (young children)
  • includes participation or lends itself to group interaction (the entire sing-along invites participation)

itsy3Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  Fingerplays can be a useful way to re-engage with groups.  Their familiarity is comforting so they may be useful in re-establishing a lost connection.  Itsy Bitsy Spider can be used to reach out to shy or uncertain kids.  Repetition, always with a kind and gentle smile, can become an “I love you and your safe” ritual.

Significance:  This children’s music video shows how video may be used effectively in a teaching context for young children.


Watch-alikes:  Mister Rabbit by Caspar Babypants  Butterfly Driving a Truck by Caspar Bapypants   ABC Song, by LittleBabyBum

Links:  Official Website   YouTube Channel   YouTube link to video   Amazon


itsy1Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1.  This video provides young children with the opportunity to practice the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Knowing the names of things (vocabulary)
  • Being able to hear and play with smaller sounds in words (phonological awareness)
  • Being able to describe things and events (narrative skills)

2.  This video provides opportunities for caregivers to utilize the early literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Singing helps children learn new words and vocalize.
  • Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about how the world works and learn language.

3.  This video supports the following Kindergarten Readiness Skills (see full list here):

  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories
  • Start to follow rules
  • Begin to control oneself
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words

4.  This video follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Integrate more new media materials and technology.  Cultivate media literacy by modeling media literacy behaviors.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

Why I Chose to Review this Video:  This video is highly engaging for big and small groups.

3Make Reading More Fun


Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!

Butterfly Driving a Truck – a happy sing-along (about truck driving)

With a lot of fun, repetition and h617+ByuogaL._SS280_PJStripe-Robin,TopLeft,0,0-1igh-energy, Butterfly Driving a Truck makes an engaging sing-along for storytime.

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Bibliographic Info:  Babypants, Caspar  Butterfly Driving a Truck, from Sing AlongBabyPantsMusic (2011)  Format: CD, MP3, Children’s Music Video  Platform: YouTube  Channel: Caspar Babypants on YouTube  Interest Level: babies, toddlers and preK  Genre: Sing-along  Themes: Coloring, Transportation, Uniqueness


StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Butterfly Driving a Truck was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on March 22nd, 2015 and has been selected for the MusicVideoWOW collection.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.


yeahSummary:  In Butterfly Driving a Truck from his CD entitled “Sing Along!”, Caspar Babypants delivers an upbeat chorus with verses that list quirky terms about truckdriving, such as “cup of joe”, “greasy spoon” and “CB radio.”

Review:  Do butterflies and trucks go together?  These do!  By putting this reverse stereotype in a children’s song, Butterfly Driving a Truck has the potential to foster open minds and break stereotypes.  By fostering open-mindedness, children learn to embrace differences and diversity.  The tune is also extremely catchy!


flyStorytime:  Use your felt board along with the music video to create a fun and engaging storytime sing-along.  Begin by reviewing the short chorus (see below), and asking kids to echo it.  Prior to storytime, construct the pieces listed below (these are the verses to the song).  In storytime, show each piece to your group, pronounce its name and place it on your felt board.  Ask children to repeat each phrase.  When you’ve finished putting all the pieces on the board, continue practicing with groups by pointing to each piece repeatedly.  Then, play the song and clap along to the chorus.  This sing-along musical video makes a simple, yet delightful storytime element.

Here is the chorus and verses:

C’mon c’mon
CHORUS
butterfly driving a truck (yeah yeah) 
butterfly driving a truck (yeah yeah)
VERSE 1
eighteen wheels
big loud horn
cup of joe
CHORUS
butterfly driving a truck (c’mon)
butterfly driving a truck (c’mon)
VERSE 2
highway sign
greasy spoon
cb radio
butterfly driving a truck (alright)
butterfly driving a truck (alright)
BRIDGE
flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter

flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter flutter away
oooh
aaah

Butterfly Driving a Truck meets the StorytimeWOW Standards for Music Videos. This video:

  • is a loveable lullaby with universal appeal
  • has that “WOW” factor (it’s enjoyable for groups of children)
  • is well-suited for repetition (once you teach it to groups, this video may be regularly utilized as a storytime element with a brief review)
  • provides viewers with an educational takeaway (it’s an educational counting game)
  • is free of squirmy moments (this sing-along is highly engaging)
  • hits the storytime target audience’s interest level (young children)
  • includes participation or lends itself to group interaction (the video’s concept is based on participation)

eatBibliotherapeutic Usefulness:    Use this song as inspiration to create a coloring activity.  Ask kids to draw and color something they like to do (just as the butterfly likes driving a truck).  Encourage their interests.


Watch-alikes:  Mister Rabbit by Caspar Babypants  Itsy Bitsy Spider by Caspar Bapypants   ABC Song, by LittleBabyBum

Links:  Official Website   YouTube Channel   YouTube link to video   Amazon


joeEarly Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of Butterfly Driving a Truck across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1.  This video provides young children with the opportunity to practice the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Knowing the names of things (vocabulary)
  • Being able to hear and play with smaller sounds in words (phonological awareness)
  • Being able to describe things and events (narrative skills)

2.  This video provides opportunities for caregivers to utilize the early literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Singing helps children learn new words and vocalize.
  • Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about how the world works and learn language.

3.  This video supports the following Kindergarten Readiness Skills (see full list here):

  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories

4.  This video follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Integrate more new media materials and technology.  Cultivate media literacy by modeling media literacy behaviors.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

Why I Chose to Review this Video:  This is an infectious tune that pictures a refreshing image for kids.  It made me smile and I want to share it. 

3Make Reading More Fun


Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!