How Do You Wokka-Wokka?

Written By: Elizabeth Bluemle

Illustrated By: Randy Cecil

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take a moment to scan the cover and illustrations throughout the book with your child. Ask these questions before you begin reading to allow your child to make predictions about the story:

What do you think this story is about?

What do you think it means to “Wokka-Wokka”?

{Flip to an illustration} What is happening in this picture?

What do you think all of those children are in the street? What are they doing?

This story is about dancing and movement so ask your child about his/her favorite dance move and when they love to dance by asking, “What is your favorite dance move? My favorite dance move is this. I like to dance when I’m really happy or whenever there is music playing. When do you like to dance?”

As You Read

Elizabeth Bluemle uses many silly phrases like “shimmy-shake” and “wammy-lammy-wotcha-hoo” to help the characters describe their different wokka-wokka moves so have fun being animated and stressing the rhyme in the text as you read!

Vocabulary Building:

You can encourage vocabulary building by allowing your child to stop during your read-through when s/he comes across a word that is unfamiliar. Let him/her discover the meaning of the word using the illustrations and words surrounding it. An example of a new word in How Do You Wokka-Wokka? is MARIACHI.

Making Connections:

Making connections between the story and your child’s life is a great way to make the story more relatable and entertaining. When the little boy first wakes up and says he wants to wokka, ask your child, “Have you ever woken up feeling really happy? Why did you feel that way? What did you want to do when you got out of bed?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask questions like these to gauge your child’s comprehension of the story:

What does it mean to Wokka-Wokka?

Why did the boy start to Wokka-Wokka?

Why does everyone do the Wokka differently?

What were some ways that the other kids in the neighborhood do the dance?

How Do You Wokka-Wokka? is a celebration of dance and community, so touch upon these themes by asking, “How did the boy get all of those kids together in the street? Do you think he had more fun dancing by himself or with the other kids? Why do you think that is? Which do you like more: playing by yourself or playing with others? Is it for the same reason or for a different reason?”  

Activity: Wokka-Wokka Dance Party!

Adapted from Love That Max

Supplies: A portable music source (laptop, iPod, etc.) and your dancing feet!

  1. Designate two or three rooms in your home to be “Wokka-Wokka Dance Zones”. Then make a playlist of two or three songs for each room, with each room having a different theme. For example, you can have a Pop Music Room where you play some songs that are populartoday and then have an 80s Room where you play classics from the 80s. You can choose whatever music you like, just as long as it is sure to get you and your child moving.
  2. When you’ve got the music set up, go to your first room and crank up the tunes! Instruct your child to have a different wokka-wokka move for each song and let him/her incorporate that into their dancing!
  3. Once the songs for that room are finished, grab the music and dance on over to the next room and start all over again, but this time with some new Wokka-Wokka moves. You can keep this up until you run out of songs or until you are all danced out!