I heard an interview on NPR a couple of weeks ago with author/illustrator Sandra Boynton about her new book and CD (more about that in a minute or five). Since the new book wasn’t yet in the library, I decided to tell you about one of her other books. Since this website is a Revue in blog form, it seems like a good idea (at least to me) to review a book that calls itself an IMAGINARY musical revue.
Sandra Boynton’s wacky sense of humor is evident even from the cover, which says (and I quote) “Philadelphia Chickens — and 17 1/2 other highly unlikely songs by Boynton & Ford … for all ages, except 43.” Thank goodness I’m not 43!
To find out more about the book, and her other books as well, click the magic words “read more…”
Title: Philadelphia Chickens
Author/Illustrator: Sandra Boynton (music by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford)
Publisher: New York, Workman Publishing, 2002.
Genre: Illustrated music book with CD
Audience Age: “For all ages, except 43” 😉
Theme: FUN! Silly animal songs! Singing cows, pigs, chickens and AAAARDVARKS! or, as the title page says, “Deluxe illustrated lyrics book of the Original Cast Recording of the Unforgettable (though completely imaginary) Stage Spectacular PHILADELPHIA CHICKENS”
Why I Like This Book: Do you honestly wonder? It’s jam-packed with silly songs sung by some well known Broadway performers (and some little known but still delightful performers as well). Sandra Boynton’s illustrations are great fun, and the lyrics are hilarious. You can get a feel for the kind of humor you’ll encounter in the book on the enter page of her website. (Go ahead and click, I’ll wait… but do come back, okay?)
There is an amazing variety of song styles as well — everything from blues to calypso to Broadway-style ballads to rock. My favorite may be the one that reminds me (and probably everyone else, except people who are 43, since they aren’t a suitable age to read or listen to this book) … (take a deep breath and get back on topic, Starborn!) … anyway, it reminds me of the incredibly fun (and funny) “Patter Songs” of Gilbert and Sullivan. This song is called “Busy, Busy, Busy” and it’s sung by Kevin Kline (movie star guy) and a bunch of other people who do the chorus bits. Patter songs are fast, funny, with words just flying as fast (or faster) than words can usually be sung or understood. Imagine singing seventeen silly tongue twisters very fast — that’s what a patter song sounds like.
The book has a CD that you can listen to while looking at the zany illustrations of animals performing the songs. There’s also a section with music notation (melody line only) with the full lyrics of each song, so you can sing along.
This is just one of a series of similar books of songs that have no existence outside Boynton’s books (these aren’t songs you’ll hear on the radio, or in a concert, except for the special concert that you get when you listen to the CD and read or sing along with the book). Another is Blue Moo, (in case you’re wondering, my favorite song on that one is “Your Personal Penguin”) and as of September 3, 2013, there’s a country-music flavored one called Frog Trouble that will, no doubt, be as much fun as all her other books. Here’s the NPR interview I heard her do about Frog Trouble.
And to wrap up this review of the imaginary Revue, here’s something absolutely cool — on this page of Sandra Boynton’s website, you can listen to MP3s of excerpts from the songs in her books. I hope you’ll scroll down and listen to the MP3 of Busy, Busy, Busy so you can see what fun it is!
How about trying to make up your own fun songs? You could do your own imaginary revue!