Book Review: Rhinoceros Tap

Rating: ★★★★☆

Sandra Boynton‘s clever, original silliness isn’t limited only to toddler board books — it also finds unique expression in a collaboration with Adam Bryant in a musical series of silly songs.  This volume, the original in the series, includes a range of musical styles: swing, doo-wop, caribbean, rock, and blues.  It’s kicked off with the rousing “Rhinoceros Tap,” every bit as funny as it sounds, then segues into an ode to the “Lonely Peas” stranded on a finicky youngster’s plate.  Later, a five-year-old laments about the behavior of Bad Babies, “They whine and they bite, they chew on your toys/ and oh! do they make the most terrible noise!”  In another scene a wistful Jamaican pig wishes to relax in cool Alaska, explaining that he doesn’t like sand.

Each song is accompanied with a two-page spread with a whimsical animal scene and a selection of the lyrics.  This part of the set will most likely be most appealing to older readers, who can find the place without assistance.  The second half of the book supplies a musical score (melody and chords only), with full lyrics.  There’s even a CD jacket insert for folks who want to bring the CD in the car, leaving the book to “loll about the house.”

Each song is lyrically delicious, appealing to the preschool and elementary sense of humor, and is musically interesting enough that adults will be entertained too.

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Publication Information: Boynton, Sandra. Rhinoceros Tap. Ford, Michael (Music). Workman. 1996. ISBN: 0761133232.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on November 14, 2011

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