I read to my young kids and think that many of the younger kids’ books have a rhythm to them just like a song. Maybe it’s the repetition. If they love a book we might read it a hundred times before they are sick of it. These books become those songs I can’t get out of my head.
Sometimes I hear phrases from these books randomly in my mind. One of my favorites, was about a little boy in the sea looking for treasure, and runs into all sorts of sea life, but it turns out he’s actually in the bathtub.
The title and the beginning match… It starts off:
Way down deep in the deep blue sea
I hear a rhythm to the words and it draws me forward to the next line.
I was looking for some treasure for my mama and me.
A friend explained to me how to express this with beats. She reminded me of humming the tune and swinging your arms. This is much like a conductor and a baton.
“Way down deep in the deep blue sea” is basically 4/4 rhythm, meaning four beats of quarter notes per measure.
Way (1) down (1) deep (1) in the (1 total – these would be half notes)
deep (1) blue (1) sea (2 beats – a double note).
Isn’t that sticky? I bet without too much effort I could write up the words for the whole book.
Or in My Truck is Stuck, a bunch of prairie dogs dig a hole so a dump truck full of bones would get stuck on the road. They want to steal the dog bones out of the truck driven by dogs. (Kid logic here: because prairie dogs must love bones.) And the story of how the dump truck got unstuck.
This line will pop in my head uninvited:
Help, please help, does anyone know, how to make my stuck truck go?
This is another 4/4 stanza of four bars. Musically, it would be written:
HELP, please, HELP does – 4 beats
ANYone KNOW (2 beats on KNOW)
HOW to MAKE my
STUCK truck GO (2 beats on GO)
One of the first books I read to my kids was “How do I love you”. This is another poetry book. It’s been years probably since I read it, but I still get a murmur of the words.
I love you like the sun loves the bright summer days
This one is also 4/4, but it begins with an eighth note in a partial measure.
LOVE you like the
SUN (2 beats) loves the
BRIGHT (2 beats) summer
DAYS (2 beats).
I think there is correlation with the rhythm stickiness and if my kids want to read them again and again. Books are just more fun for young kids if they are almost sung. Poetry.
What books read like songs to you?
The books referenced: