Oonga Boonga by Frieda Wishinsky

Summary of the Story

Baby Louise won't stop crying. To cheer her up, Mom sings a lullaby, Dad rocks her, Grandma feeds her a bottle, and Grandpa dances for her. The neighbors offer their suggestions. Nothing works. Then Louise's big brother Daniel comes home and says, "Oonga boonga." Louise stops crying. Daniel goes back outside to play and Louise cries again. When Daniel comes back home, Louise is crying again, and he makes her stop with another nonsense phrase.

Introducing the Story
  • Read the title of the book on the cover, while pointing to each word. Say the title together as you point to each word. Explain that this is a story about a little boy who helps make his baby sister stop crying.
  • Talk about babies with the child. Ask: Have you ever heard a baby cry? What made the baby stop? What would you do to make a baby stop crying?

Reading the story for the first time

  • Read the words to the story on each page, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • Give the child enough time to look at each of the pictures. As you read, ask: Is Louise still crying?
  • You might spend some time looking at the series of pictures before and after the story. Ask the child to name the objects and the characters from the story.

Reading the Book Again and Again:

  • Each time you read Oonga Boonga, leave more of the "reading" or retelling to the child. Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, ask: What is Baby Louise doing? What does her mother do here?
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What kinds of toys does Baby Louise have? (She has a rattle and a rabbit.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information. Ask the child to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book. Good words to ask about are listed in the vocabulary section below. Be sure to talk about objects and actions the child brings up, too.
  • You may wish to discuss the prompts shown below.

Building Literacy

  • Use the pictures and the story to talk about babies and the kinds of care they need. Use a doll and have your child show how to hold a baby.


Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!


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