Kids can count their way through the rainforest to a Caribbean beat in the paper-over-board Creepy Crawly Calypso by Tony Langham, illus. by Debbie Harter, which comes packaged with an audio CD. Swarms of insects play instruments, bedecked with sunglasses, derby hats and bowties-including a trio of cockroaches on sax and a half dozen army ants "bearing tiny flutes." Explanations of the instruments and the creatures featured, as well as sheet music, serve as a coda to this bouncy primer. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Storybooks are often powerful ways to introduce young children to the world around them. In the guise of a simple rhyming counting book, this book introduces the music of the Caribbean to little ones. Calypso, indigenous to the islands of the Caribbean, has a unique sound that is due, in part, to the array of instruments used. Langham counts a variety of different insects as they are playing instruments as ordinary as the guitar and as extraordinary as the marimba. Illustrations by Debbie Harter are vibrant and the concept of counting is evident in every picture. Children can easily count the insects and the instruments as they read the rhyming text. The backmatter of this book includes information not only on the insects but the unusual instruments as well. A CD of the rhyme brought to life in song is included. This would make a terrific addition to any classroom but it most certainly belongs in a music teacher's classroom. Integrating language arts into music is often problematic, but this book and CD combo solve that problem handily. Children can sing the song as they read along in the book. The CD also features a useful introduction to the calypso instruments to help children identify what instrument is making which sound. This book will be useful in a variety of way from a home read aloud to a classroom resource. 2004, Barefoot Books, Ages 4 to 7.
—Joan Kindig, Ph.D.