Book Review: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – rhythmic letters bring joy to a new generation

by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert, Simon & Schuster 1989

A told B and B told C, “I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree…”

Every time I read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom’s opening line, my son lets out a wide, two-tooth grin. And my thirty two-tooth grin inevitably follows. We absolutely love this hard book classic, and I encourage all new parents to add it to their collection. I loved this book as a child but had forgotten all about it until a friend gave us a copy as a baby gift – it was like being reunited with an old friend!

The letters of the alphabet attempt to climb a coconut tree together. And they all come crashing down to the sound of – you guessed it – Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM! I challenge any parent to read this story without a grin. Just try to recite the rhymes without adding a little song or dance to the mix. It’s impossible. And therein lies the magic. The book’s fun rhyme scheme lends itself to silly narrating, and the bright colors on each page can capture any baby’s attention.

Before long, I will use this book to teach my son the alphabet. I’ll intersperse the story with lessons about vowels, consonants, long sounds, and short sounds. He’ll gradually recognize the sentences and letters on his own. We might even practice handwriting along the pages of the coconut tree. All in due time. But for now, we’ll simply follow the adventures of blacked-eyed P and loose-tooth T together, as I did before him.

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