The bounciness. The silliness. The rhymes. The dancing. The animals. The sheer fun that is found in reading these books over and over – perhaps even singing them!
Have you every wondered if barnyard animals could square dance?
What if pigs were a part of a barbershop trio? Would that be right?
Can happy hippos and angry ducks start to teach children about the power of emotions?
Is there really an animal that starts with every letter of the alphabet?
These questions might seem very silly at first glance, but have you noticed that sometimes it is the very silly things that stick with you? Those things that inspire your imagination and remain in your memory throughout your day?
This talent for tapping into imagination, this ability to make you smile and laugh, this awakened desire to keep coming back and reading more is the hallmark of Sandra Boynton’s books. On top of that, it is impossible to read one of her books without smiling!
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Sandra Boynton combines an incredible love for animals with a superb talent for writing in rhyme to create children’s books that capture your imagination. It’s almost like her imagination leaps out of the pages to spark your imagination, making you wonder if animals, in a moment of silliness, just might be capable of some of the things she suggests.
But it’s more than that: Part of what makes her books so memorable is the cadence and rhyme that they are written in. Now, before you get this vision of a Shakespearean sonnet that is written using the same pattern and iambic pentameter for every poem (which, is a feat of genius – have you ever tried to write a sonnet in iambic pentameter? It’s not easy!), let me set your mind at ease: Sandra Boynton writes in rhyme and rhythm, absolutely, but her cadence for each book stands on its own.
The first book that my family ever found by Sandra Boynton was called ‘Barnyard Dance.’ To be perfectly honest, I don’t even remember where we found the book! Regardless of that fact, the first thing that captured my attention was the title: ‘Barnyard Dance.’ You see, my grandparents owned a farm. Yes, a real, live, working farm where you had to go out and milk the cows, feed the chickens, gather the eggs, weed the vegetable garden, and put in the work to see the harvest. So, anything with barns or farm animals has a special place in my heart.
From the very first page, this book captured my attention – even before I started reading it to my daughter! The book opens with a picture of a cow playing a a fiddle and calling all the animals to
Stomp your feet!‘Barnyard Dance’ by Sandra Boynton
Clap your hands!
Everybody ready for a barnyard dance!
(Try to read that out loud without a bounce in your voice. I find it impossible!)
Suddenly you are are transported to a barnyard square dance where the animals all join in the fun. But the best part of all is that you can sing this book! It is written from the perspective of the master of the square dance calling out the instructions for the dance to the other animals!
The rhythm, the cadence, the silliness, the sheer fun and delight that you will find as you read this book to your child will leave you laughing out loud at the antics of the ducks, horses, bunnies, cows, dogs, chickens, and more that take part in this silly dance.
But every book is not the same! From what I have seen, no two books follow the same exact pattern, leaving you with this wonderful feeling of expectancy, wondering what treasures might be held in the next Sandra Boynton book you pick up.
In ‘A to Z’ you can answer that age-old question: Is there really an animal that starts with every letter of the alphabet? And is it possible for them to do an action that starts with every letter of the alphabet? In the most creative way, Sandra Boynton answers these questions with a resounding ‘Yes!’…but not always in the way that you might think.
In ‘Happy Hippo, Angry Duck,’ she explores feelings, affirming that there are an abundance of emotions that each and every person experiences. And yet, she reminds you that feeling are fleeting or in her words, ‘a difficult mood is not here to stay. Everyone’s moods will change day to day.’ The brilliant animal drawings help bring out the truth in what she is saying: everyone experiences many emotions, but with the help of friends, we do not have to be ruled by our emotions. We can choose to change our attitudes….except, perhaps, for that duck…
Changing your expectations away from the typical seems to be a special talent of Sandra Boynton’s. Her book ‘Moo, Baa, La La La!’ stands out as one of our favorites that we keep coming back to time and time again. It starts out with animals making all the typical noises that you would expect animals to make. But then, all of a sudden, you are surprised with a barbershop trio of pigs in striped suits and canes singing! It’s like she has this uncanny ability to hook you in with what you know to be true and then completely surprise you with the fun and silly, imaginative antics of the animals.
Every book is a journey of fun and laughter, guided by animals that challenge your expectations of what a typical animal does yet at the same time remaining believable in your imagination. Her books bring a smile to your face and a bubble of laughter to your lips. Her words and cadence bring you along so that you are not simply reading words on a page, but carried along in the story.
She talks about everything from counting dogs to dinosaurs, from going to bed to bunny rabbits that like to put on a show, from pigs that are so proud of their perfect ‘pigginess’ to finding the courage to join in with friends. And yet, everything that she talks about stays true to her character as it is revealed in her books.
Her rhymes are on a caliber with Dr Seuss, drawing you in, playing with word families, engaging your mind and imagination as you think about things in different ways than the ones you have always known.
In every book, Sandra Boynton combines the realities of life with the silliness of animals, and the cadence of rhyme to drive home a very real truth: There are many lessons that we can learn everywhere we look if only we have the eyes and the imagination to see them.
If you have not yet experienced Sandra Boynton’s books for yourself, may I humbly suggest that you run, jog, scurry, shimmy, or dance your way to your local library or click one of the links below to find some of her spectacular books to read for yourself? Once you read her unforgettable words, your life will never be the same!
- The Adventures of a Teapot in Song and Rhyme
- A Little Blue Truck
- Escape in the Pages: 21 Books for You to Enjoy
- Dr Seuss: Rising to the Rhyming Challenge
Looking for some of the books or materials mentioned on this page? Click on the photo below to purchase your own copy today.
Elizabeth Tatham, founder of Inspiration in the Everyday, is a homeschooling momma of 5 who loves helping other homeschooling mommas create a unique homeschooling adventure your kids will love…without the overwhelm! Join in on the journey with 7 simple steps to make your homeschooling day go faster, easier, and with less tears here.