Finding picture books that are new to me and scream “be creative with me” makes my heart go hip hop! Thanks to Rachel See, MT-BC ‘s MT Mailings I discovered “Hip Hop Dog” by Chris Raschka. (If you are a musician or music therapist who regularly works with children, consider purchasing this great resource.) The aspect making this a singable book is rhythm.
Follow the rhythmic story of this pup that goes from sad and alone to being one of the coolest dogs in the park.
Written for children ages 4-8, this book cries out for repeated readings using different methods. Explore tempo and pattern. Allow children to explore. Here are a few ideas to get you going.
- Read it in a rhythmic manner. The words cry out for this especially as you spin the book to follow the words.
- Read it rhythmically adding volume based upon the size of print. Discuss how the emphasis changes the feel of the book. (This is a place music educators could introduce music terminology.)
- Use a rhythm track to play while reading the book. You can use a free or low-cost download from site such as World Hip-Hop Beats. If you have an iPad, try using an app similar to DrumJam by Pete Lockett.
- Use instruments and have the children create their own groove. Record the groove as a loop on Garage Band to play while reading.
- Explore bebop jazz (this link is more for you than the children) and opera. This is a chance to expose the children to may not have heard this era of jazz or know who Brunhilda is. Read a portion of the book over a bebop chart/song and over a recording of “Cherokee” by Charlie Parker and a portion of a Wagner/Brunhilda recording. Discuss how these sounds are included by Hip Hop Dog in the last pages of the book.
Do you have other ideas for adding music and sound to this book? Share them in the comments below.