Today it is my pleasure to feature a new picture book for toddlers. STOMP, WIGGLE, CLAP, AND TAP (Rockridge Press) by Rachelle Burk Illustrated by Alyssa De Asis, will have young children doing just as the title says.
Written in perfect read-aloud rhyme, with gentle prompts and lively illustrations that will encourage kids to move and make some noise. I asked Rachelle about this book and why she was drawn to writing it. For a chance to win a copy of this delightful book leave a comment at the end of this post and I will enter your name in the random drawing. If you share the post on social media, let me know and I will give you a second chance to win.
What inspired you to write a book for toddlers?
Stop, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance was a work-for-hire project, meaning the educational publisher (Rockridge Press, imprint of Callisto Media) reached out and offered me the project. I had already completed two books for this publisher during 2020. This latest one targets the youngest target audience I’ve ever written for, and I looked forward to the challenge. As a children’s entertainer (Tickles the Clown and Mother Goof Storyteller…yeah, really), I LOVE working with little kids. So I jumped at the opportunity. It sounded fun and I enjoy writing in rhyme.
What was the most challenging part of the WFH project?
Well, for one thing, I’m not a dancer, which probably makes me a total fraud. But my daughters, now adults, watched an insane amount of baby dance videos back during the VHS era, which tends to imprint itself on a mother’s brain. The outline for the manuscript had me isolating different body parts in a progressive format… a stanza focusing on hands and fingers, the next on arms, followed by feet and toes, then legs, and finally putting them all together. Because the audience is between the ages of one and two, I had to reach way back in my memory to remember what children of that age can do developmentally. I tried to think of what intrigues toddlers and work those things into little movement poems–animals, for example. I thought that would add a fun aspect to the illustrations as well.
I found myself crawling, wiggling, twirling, and doing all kinds of weird movements around my family room as I worked to develop the movements and figure out how to describe them. I couldn’t help wondering what my neighbors would think if they happened to look in my window.
The rhyme has such a lovely, musical quality that is perfect for getting kids to move. How did you arrive at this?
The first thing I had to do was to forget everything I know about writing children’s stories in rhyme. Instead of unpredictable, complex, and multi-syllable rhymes, I stuck with simple, predictable, and repetitious ones, with a rhythm that caregivers can easily chant and clap to. After all, my audience is children barely out of infancy. For inspiration, I read a lot of classic nursery rhymes and watched YouTube videos with simple movement songs for toddlers.
Anything else you want to share?
The amazing illustrator, Alyssa De Asis did a brilliant job bringing the book to life and giving it a party atmosphere. I love how, once an animal character is introduced, it sticks around in the future illustrations, dancing along with the human characters.
Thanks Rachelle. The book is delightful and I can’t wait to share it with the toddlers in my life!
For anyone interested in learning more about writing for work-for-hire publishers, you can find links on my comprehensive website, www.ResourcesForChildrensWriters.com (scroll to category #14). You can find pretty much everything else you want to learn about writing, publishing, and marketing on that same site.
To purchase the book (hard copy or Kindle version) please visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/1648768385It can also be ordered wherever books are sold.
I love to hear from both readers and writers, and can be reached via my website www.RachelleBurk.com, and email: firstname.lastname@example.org