Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


*****Philadephia Chickens

Book and CD of the Imaginary Musical Revue

by Sandra Boynton

Reviewed March 8, 2004.
Workman Publishing, New York, 2002.  66 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (E BOY).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #1, Picture Books

Philadelphia Chickens is absolutely brilliant.  Sandra Boynton is the queen of serious silliness.  She’s the author of my favorite book for two-year-olds, Red Hat, Green Hat, and I’ve long treasured her books as books for very young children that grown-ups also love.

In the unsolicited note at the back of the book, Sandra Boynton says, “I have four children who are now all taller than they ought to be.  When they were the proper size for children, they were from time to time given recordings of perky children’s music, and I had a vague thought of trying to make something perhaps a little more nuanced.”

The result is subtle but completely hilarious, beginning with the cover which states that the book is “for all ages, except 43.”  I love the tender love song “Faraway Cookies,” sung to the “Chocolate Chip Cookies so high on the shelf, hiding inside of the jar—I’m not tall enough to reach you myself.  So near, and yet so very far.”  Another favorite is “Belly Button,” which is, of course, a round.

The music is wonderful.  Who knew that people like Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline were such good singers?  The CD presents an “Imaginary Musical Revue,” with songs suitable to be performed on stage.  We have a shy tyrannosaurus rex singing “Those Dinosaur Blues.”  Kevin Kline sings a Gilbert and Sullivan style song “BusyBusyBusy” about how we “have to do so many things and post them on the walls.”  The “Philadelphia Chickens” themselves are “serious chickens when it comes to swing.”

You’ve got to hear these songs!

Reader comment:  A reader named Noni gives the book Five Stars and comments:
My friend Sarah introduced this book/cd to me. I loved it so much i made it my email adress...!(except i spelled "Philadelphia" wrong...whoops!)

Reviews of other books by Sandra Boynton:
Rhinoceros Tap
Frog Trouble
Dog Train
How Big Is Zagnodd?
Woo Hoo! You're Doing Great!
Hippos Remain Calm

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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