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HOW DO YOU WOKKA-WOKKA? by Elizabeth Bluemle


by Elizabeth Bluemle & illustrated by Randy Cecil

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3228-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A little boy bounds out of his house because “[s]ome days you wake up and you just gotta wokka— / Say “HEY!’ to your neighbors up and down the blocka / wammy-lammy-wotcha-hoo. Do your funky wokka, get your dance on.” The exuberant boy walks down the street asking other kids, “How do you wokka-wokka?” One by one, the kids describe and demonstrate their unique wokka styles and then join in the parade of dancers continuing down the street to the block party at its end. The singsong, nonsensical, rhyme-riddled text vacillates between catchy and awkward, breaking its rhythm at times in a way that may throw readers off. Cecil’s oil illustrations depict a multiethnic cast of dancing children set against a plain white backdrop and the occasional city streetscape. The paintings are wonderful, but considerably more subdued than this celebration of movement and language calls for. Not a must-have, though the right storyteller could get the preschool crowd dreaming up their own version of the wokka-wokka. (Picture book. 3-6)