People to Know: Sandra Boynton
In which Ariel makes a bold statement. Sandra Boynton is Ariel and Bean's favorite children's author. Read on to see if you agree! This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. Thank you for your continued support!
I was more nervous to write this post than any other post before this. Why? Because we – Bean and I – love Sandra Boynton more than any other children’s book author. That is a bold statement; I know. But sometimes bold statements need to be made. In our opinion, she cannot be beaten.
Getting to Know Sandra Boynton
Though you may not know it Sandra Boynton is a part of our lives. As a humorist, songwriter, director, music producer, children's author and illustrator chances are she has touched your life in some way. Ever found yourself strolling past the planner section and picked up the quintessential banana yellow Mom’s Family Desk Planner. You know the ones I am talking about! The one with the quirky animals adorning every page. That’s a Boynton creation. Ever read the perennial classics Moo Baa Lalala or Your Personal Penguin? Both Boynton. Why have Sandra Boynton’s works withstood the test of time? Because she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Because she encourages us – adults and kids alike – to be silly.
Sandra Boynton Encourages Us to Be Silly
Boynton’s books feature a colorful crew of animals drawn in her signature comical style. Her expressive illustrations bring life to her already lively stories. In The Belly Button Book, you can see the hippos’ excitement written all over their faces as they proudly display their belly-b’s. You can feel their disappointment when they have to cover them up in wintertime. “We sing this song on summer nights or when it’s hot outside. But never in cold wintertime when belly buttons hide. No, never in cold wintertime when belly buttons hide.”
All of Boynton’s books are marked by a whimsical sing-song rhyme scheme that trips off the tongue. Some of her books are literally sing-alongs! Singable books like Pajama Time! and The Bunny Rabbit Show! are my personal favorites. You cannot keep from grinning when you are belting a jaunty tune about Broadway bound bunnies. “It’s the bunny… THAT’S RIGHT! It’s the bunny…. TONIGHT! It’s the bunny rabbit show!”
Whether the text is meant to be sung or merely spoken aloud all of Boynton’s creations involve wholly original ideas, which is hard to do in the world of children’s lit. Whether it’s bikini-clad hippos or talented bunnies or attitudinal ducks her stories will be enjoyed by all for generations to come.
A Crash Course in Our Favorite Books by Sandra Boynton
Don’t know where to get started? What follows is a whirlwind description of the six Boynton books currently in rotation. Not every Boynton is a hit with Bean. Some of her best-known classics, such as Moo Baa Lalala were performed to crickets. Bean was unenthused. But the vast majority of Sandra Boynton’s books start out as library favorites and end up on a bookshelf at home – permanent fixtures in our routine.
The Belly Button Book was our first Boynton book, so it will always have a special place in my heart. It tells the story of a tiny little hippo who has something small to say. “And if you listen closely, he will say it right away…Beeboo.” It features a clan of scantily clad hippos who love the summer because they get to show off their belly buttons. To this day Bean still refers to her belly button as her beeboo.
The Bunny Rabbit Show! Is my personal favorite. It features a troop of dancing rabbits putting on a show just for you – the reader! “They are ten terrific rabbits and they like to dance and sing! Yes, ten terrific rabbits they can do most anything!” The book is meant to be sung, so warm-up those vocal chords and get warbling!
With the help of a ragtag group of animals Happy Hippo, Angry Duck helps expand our children’s emotional vocabulary. By asking how you – the reader – are feeling today, it labels our emotions. Are you happy as a hippo? Or angry as a duck? Maybe you are sad as a chicken. It shows us that our moods change throughout the day. “But not the duck, he’s always that way.”
But Not the Hippopotamus features a shy hippo left behind because he cannot speak up. His friends are out trying on hats, but not the hippopotamus. Or sipping juice, but not the hippopotamus. It teaches introverts to speak up for ourselves. It teaches extroverts to look out for our more shy and introverted friends. In the end, the shy hippo joins in the fun, but not the armadillo.
Currently, in our bedtime rotation, we have Pajama Time! and The Going to Bed Book. Pajama Time! is another sing-along. “Pull on the bottoms, Put on the top! Get yourself ready to pajama bee bop!” If you and your little struggle with bedtime. This book will add a little levity to your routine. I find myself singing it every night as we get ready. Are you ready to pajama bee bop?
We bought The Going to Bed Book because we heard it was Monkey’s favorite. The Going to Bed Book also features a bedtime routine. But this bedtime routine takes place on a boat! The less complicated text makes The Going to Bed Book a great first book for those of you just establishing a nightly reading routine. This was the first book that Bean “read” to me and by reading I mean paraphrasing poorly. But she always gets the last line right. “The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.”
Last but not least is the most requested book in our household Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! With the help of some mischievous dinosaurs, Boynton teaches us opposites. You have your classic opposites, such as weak and strong, and good and bad. But then you have less traditional pairings, such as "Dinosaurs early. Dinosaurs later. Dinosaurs crammed in an elevator!” If you have a budding paleontologist this book is sure to please!
So, if you are willing to put the worries of adult life aside for a second and be silly, start with one of these books by Sandra Boynton. They have yet to loose their charm. And we read them over and over and over again... Which one will you try first?
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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