Tanka Tanka Skunk


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This innovative, visually stunning picture book introduces simple rhythmic patterns to the youngest children in a riot of wonderful shout-out-loud words and cavorting animals.

About the Author

Steve studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Bristol Art College and then worked as a designer in Bristol. He moved to Manchester in the 1990s, working at various design and advertising agencies and exhibiting his work in galleries in Stockport, Macclesfield, Bristol and Manchester. He now works as a freelance designer and lives in the Peak District with his wife and children.


This first picture book from a British graphic designer exudes a veteran's assurance and easygoing enthusiasm. Tanka and Skunk are avid bass drummers; they are also, respectively, an elephant and a skunk. Together, these cartooned percussionists lead readers through a time-beating exercise that acts as an introduction to the rhythm of words. They begin with their own names: "Skunka Tanka/ Skunka Tanka/ Tanka Tanka Skunk!" Background stripes of contrasting colors provide cues to breaking up the beat into measures, and the rough-and-ready typeface grows in size to encourage a hearty pumping up of the volume. The text moves from a simple meter to groovy, tongue-tickling examples of zoological word jazz: "panda/ panther/ tiger/ zebra/ alligator/ fox/ tiny little hairy spider/ armadillo/ ox." The infectious cadences and comic animal portraits make beautiful music together to the very last page (when the narrator declares, "Once more from the top.../ faster this time, please!"). A surefire method for turning young readers into confirmed beatniks. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 1-Simply by using the syllables in animal names, Webb creates an enjoyable and musical picture book. Tanka the elephant and his friend Skunk beat out a cadence on their drums, "Skunka Tanka/Skunka Tanka/Tanka/Tanka/Skunk." This verse serves as a refrain as they meet other creatures and say their names: "And this is caterpillar./His name has four beats./Cat-er-pil-lar"). Although the story is without a plot, its celebration of sound brings to mind the off-Broadway show STOMP, which capitalizes on unconventional ways that music and rhythm resonate in our lives. Brightly colored background squares show off the heavy black outlines of the cartoon animals. Various sizes and shapes of font draw emphasis to the accents and patterns of the words. Storytime audiences will revel in the beat when this book is used as a filler between longer plot-driven stories or as a culminating activity after marching around the room as a band.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

A clever exploraton of beat, pulse and rhythm . . . Cartoon-like illustrations are vividly coloured and will appeal greatly to younger children . . . This book would prove useful to pre-school teachers * Inis *
Not a book for a quiet read at bedtime but one to be shouted out loud . . . A great romp of noise * South Wales Argus *
A great book for reading aloud . . . An absolute riot for group activities * Who Minds *
An excellent book that thoroughly deserves a place in every early years setting * Early Years Educator *

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