Remember back in June, when Akashic released four picture books set to pop music titles? If visions of babies in revolt, set to Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It are still stuck in your mental gears, this post is for you. Akashic has released the next four books in their LyricPop series, and they are SOOOO GOOD.
Move the Crowd, Song & Lyrics by Eric Barrier & William Griffin/Illustrated by Kirk Parrish, (Oct. 2020, Akashic Books), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-61775-849-2
The lyrics to Eric B. and Rakim’s 1987 hit Move the Crowd come to life in this story as we see a young boy get sucked into his boom box (I’m Gen X, I know I’ve dated myself with that reference) and dropped into a world that desperately needs his help: it’s a grey, dismal world he lands in, but he brings the music, and with it, a colorful vibrancy that transforms the surroundings! Everyone gets an instrument, there’s a riot of color and movement, and sure enough, the crowd is moving! Endpapers showcase giant boom boxes, and the mixed media/cut paper artwork is just incredible, with depth and movement all coming together to tell a story that you won’t want to listen to while standing still.
Respect, Song Lyrics by Otis Redding/Illustrations by Rachel Moss, (Oct. 2020, Akashic Books), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-61775-844-7
All hail to the Queen! Respect, the song written by Otis Redding and made iconic by Aretha Franklin, gets its proper due as a picture book and a lesson all in one. A young girl, her family, and her friends all imagine different futures for themselves within the context of respect: a lawyer or a judge dispending justice; a doctor caring for patients; construction workers and scientists; teachers, and soldiers. All set to Otis Redding’s lyrics, with the freedom to dream of a world where everyone is equally respected and valued. Cute asides like family members, including the dog, chiming in with background “oohs” and “re, re, re, res” make this such fun to read and offer an open invitation for your littles to sing along – that’s the point! A multicultural group of children dance across the letters to the word Respect, and the artwork is colorful and cheery. A note on what “Respect” means to readers as a song and a concept, plus questions for further exploration, completes this book. Visit Akashic’s Respect page for more information on the Otis Redding Foundation, and interviews with illustrator Rachel Moss.
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, Song Lyrics by Lee Hazlewood/Illustrated by Rachel Moss, (Oct. 2020, Akashic Books), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-61775-875-1
The song made popular by Nancy Sinatra gets a new spin in this story of a possessive cat who isn’t thrilled when a new puppy joins the family. Front endpapers show the pampered cat enjoying her human’s sole attention, but as the story unfolds, a new puppy joins the household and the cat… well, the cats gets on their walkin’ boots to fight back! Gradually, the two pets gets used to one another, sharing their human’s affections, and the back endpapers reveal the two new friends equally spending time with their human, cowboy boots and all. Adorably illustrated, this is a sweet read for animal lovers and an invitation for kids to jump up and let their own boots start walking. Let kids color in some boots printables and hang them up!
We Got the Beat, Song Lyrics by Charlotte Caffey/Illustrated by Kaitlyn Shea O’Connor, (Oct. 2020, Askashic Books), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-61775-836-2
One of my all-time favorite songs, the Go-Gos hit We Got the Beat comes to gloriously neon ’80s life in this book! People and animals alike all have the beat here as they rock up and down the book. The colors are bright, popping off the page, with sunglass-wearing flamingos, horses wearing go-go boots, and super-cool kids bopping across pages. You won’t be able to sit still as you read this. Have inflatable instruments? Hand ’em out and dance to the beat!
Each book is a musical experience in your hands. Play the songs, invite your kids to dance, and hold your very own storytime dance party!