One of my all-time favorite books is Bill Martin, Jr's Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom! I am a huge fan of all alphabet books and the language and rhythm of this particular one is truly captivating for children of all ages. It's great for read-alouds and for dramatic play. During the first trip through the alphabet, the letters all race to the top of the coconut tree. When "z" reaches the top, the tree topples and all the letters fall! My children (ages 6, 4 & 2) love to act out the things that happen to the letters as they fall out of the coconut tree!
A told B and B told C,
“I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.”
“Whee,” said D to E, F, G,
“I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.”
Chicka chicka boom boom,
Will there be enough room?
In my other job (being Mommy is first!), I teach half-day kindergarten. One year we actually acted out the book for the parents, wearing "sandwich boards" with each of the letters. If the video was digital (now I'm dating myself!), I'd load it to show you! The thing I really love about this book, as a teacher, is how the author and illustrator used lowercase letters throughout. Many children learn to write using all uppercase, or capital, letters and then struggle to transition to conventional writing (using the appropriate mix of upper and lowercase letters). This book is a great introduction for that skill!
Isn't this a super cute tree to practice letter identification with? I'm not the best seamstress so I've had adapt my activities to work with my creative talents! I have added a paper coconut tree to the wall and then we've attached the letters as they climb up. I've also used an inflatable coconut tree from Oriental Trading. Finally, I've attached a small paper coconut tree to a cookie sheet and had my children practice with magnetic letters on the metal sheet. The possibilities are endless!
Here's one to try at home! Print out a picture of a coconut tree similar to the one in the book. Then, using alphabet stamps, have your child stamp their name going up the coconut tree. It's a fabulous way to get little ones thinking about their name!
If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out some other Bill Martin, Jr. books for more rhyming and word play!