Thursday, May 15, 2008

Old Favorites


For many years I was a children's librarian and ran 5 or 6 storyhours each week. I had a bunch of books that I managed to work into a "theme" on a regular basis. One of those books was The Boy with a Drum by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Eloise Wilkins. I'm no longer the children's librarian, I'm now more of a collection-development specialist--doesn't that sound impressive! Yesterday the children's librarian ran some books by me. They were tattered and needed to be discarded. One of them was a large hardcover edition of The Boy with a Drum. It made me pause. The Boy with a Drum is a great storyhour book. There is plenty of repetition. There is rhyme and rhythm.
There once was a boy
With a little toy drum--
Rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat
Rum-a-tum-tum.

One day he went marching
And played on his drum--
Rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat
Rum-a-tum-tum.

There are animals. And, there are inherent possibilities to extend the book into participatory action for the kids. Rereading it reminded me of one of my goals in writing picture books--to create something that will work well in storyhours. Children's librarians are great people and I'd love to make their work easier for them!

Alas, when I looked up the title to see if it is still in print, I found it is out of print as a single title, but, I found it is included in at least 2 compilations in the "Little Golden Book Classics" series. Some of the illustrations have been rearranged, and the delightful little map of the parade route is gone, but the story remains (except for a typo!). And, being as I'm a word person, that's all the matters to me!

--Diane

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