With their penchant for throwing things, screeching at high decibels, and staying up way past bedtime, toddlers are naturally great punk rockers. But since they still need their parents to tuck them in at night, here’s a great bedtime story that will fill their heads with visions of fun music and friends (not anarchy) as they drop off to sleep. They can save the anarchy for when you try to serve mashed peas again.
Happy Punks 1 2 3: A Counting Story runs up the numbers from 1 to 12 in a charming story about friends getting together for a night of music and dancing.
Husband and wife John Seven & Jana Christy keep things moving along nicely as 1 happy punk sets out to gather his bandmates to make posters, goes thrift-store shopping, stops by the record store, gives his hair just the right amount of pointiness, and, later, puts on a show that goes into the wee hours.
As you may expect from a children’s picture book, the prose is simple and sweet, with a few nods to us grownups with mentions of The Ramones and The Specials. Even one grumpy elephant, presumably representing all those people who don’t get it, comes around after spending some time at the show.
And the illustrations are smile-inducingly delightful, especially if you aren’t a grumpy elephant. We love looking at the unique hairstyles, colorful garb, and whimsy that adorn every page. There are so many little details, even non-readers will love pointing out the fun little details, like the dancing dogs or the zombie working in the record store.
For me, now living in suburbia, the colorful illustrations give my posse a great way to talk about looking different, being unique, and not blending in with everyone else. And why we should play The Ramones in the morning. –Christina