Tag Archives: Reka Simonsen

The Barking Ballad

Woof! Please welcome a new book onto the shelf.

The Barking Ballad is a true pandemic puppy.

Before the pandemic I became interested in Crankie Theaters. I wrote about them HERE. I decided to make a crankie theater production of The Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog by Oliver Goldsmith. To make it more interesting the audience would bark along. But then the pandemic struck. Gathering to bark (or meow) around a theater was unwise.

It occurred to me that a bark-along children’s book would be just as fun.

Goldsmith’s elegy is wonderful (you can hear it sung HERE). But its gentle mocking of piety didn’t seem clear or interesting to children. So I took one stanza of his poem and wrote my own story using Goldsmith’s structure and rhythm. Thank you, Oliver Goldsmith.

The book opens with instructions on how to bark and meow along.

The new story is about a lonely cat…

…who eventually meets a particular dog. Read the book to find out how.

They become true friends and companions. They travel paw by paw.

There are more dogs. More barking ensues…

and even more. Cacophany!

Just like it takes many dogs to make a chorus, it takes many people to make a book sing. I was lucky to work once again with the editor Reka Simonsen and the art director Michael McCartney at Simon & Schuster.

This book is best read aloud with lots of barking. For story hour you could cut out a large red circle and yellow diamond to use as cues.

Have fun. Woof!

P.S. The Wordy Book came out in September. It was expected earlier but supply chain and shipping issues delayed its arrival. So The Barking Ballad came fast on its heels, although the creation of the two books was more spread out.

The two books are quite different. Thanks for looking at them both.

You can find The Barking Ballad at your local bookstore, at bookshop.org or at Secret Garden Books in Seattle.