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Boo and Moo

A baby's world is made safe and secure by caregivers around her. Reading books and singing lullabies are reassuring routines for babies.

Photo of rbkn Balakrishnan

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Boo and Moo

         Baby Lila was lying in her crib after her mid-afternoon nap. Her Mama had massaged her with soft hands, and then bathed her in warm water. Then she had crooned Lila's favourite song, sung to the rock-a-bye baby tune, as she rocked her to sleep – “Lila oh Lila, close your eyes; think no more of chores to do; think of food and places to go; close your eyes and let it all go.”

         Baby Lila lay in the same position for a while longer and then let out a little wail to let her Mama know that she was awake. Most days her mama would come running to her at the sound. But today was not one of those days. She wailed a little louder. But, there was no sign of Mama. Now little Lila was scared. She looked around the room and saw that it was beginning to get dark outside. Normally Mama would never leave her alone in the dark. She knew little Lila was scared of the dark. In fact, she had read a book to Lila showing her of all the friends little children have in the dark. Lila tried to make friends with the shadows but the sounds in the dark still scared her. Lila started to cry loudly.

         Two hands came close and picked little Lila up from her crib. She stopped crying, happy to have someone near her and looked at the face of the person who had picked her up. She had never seen this face before. She wasn’t happy at being picked up by a stranger and decided to protest with a loud cry. Just then, the stranger picked up Lila’s favourite book from the bed, Boo and Moo, and started to flip through the pages. Lila looked at the familiar pictures and felt safer in the stranger’s arms. She felt as she did when she was in her Mama’s lap, flipping and reading the book – safe and content. The stranger had a nice loud voice and he read the story aloud in his nice, loud voice.

Boo and Moo [Picture book format]

2       Boo…Boo….Boo… (Baby points to book)

4       Moo…Moo…Moo..(Baby points outside the window)

6       Oh baby, there’s no boo and Moo here (Mama says as she’s cleaning the kitchen)

8       Boo…Boo…Boo… (baby looks and points at the book again)

10     Do be do be do, what shall we do; Baby says boo and Baby says Moo (Mama sings as she cleans)

12     Baby thumps her hand on her baby seat, “do be do be do, boo and moo”, she repeats the beat

14     Granny walks in and sits on her favourite rocking chair

16     Baby gets off her seat and walks over to granny; “Boo”, she says, pointing to the book and “Moo”, she says pointing to the moon

18     “ Do be do be do, baby, Boo and Moo, every night we go Boo and Moo”, sang mama as Granny picked baby up and put her on her lap

20     She picked up the Book baby had pointed to and read aloud the story about the cow on the moon, “Moo, Moo”, said the cow on the moon,

“Moo, Moo”, said the calf on the moon,

The cool night made them sleepy

And soon they slept off, on the curve of the Moon”

22     Baby cuddled and looked at the moon through the window; she snuggled a little more and soon closed her eyes, still singing, “Do be do be do, Boo and moo”

Just as the story finished, Mama came running in to the room. Lila jumped into Mama's arms. "Thank you Mr.Johnson, I was worried Lila would wake up but I had to finish the laundry and then the cooking." Mr.Johnson hummed a tune as he walked out of the room," Do be do be do, Boo and Moo...". Mama smiled at Lila and carried her into the cool night air. Lila looked at teh Moon and said, "Moo". "Yes Lila", said Mama, " the moon looks the same from here as it does back at Granny's home. She must be looking out of her window and singing 'Do be do be do, Boo and Moo' too." Lila smiled thinking of Granny and then snuggled closer to Mama, just as Baby had done in the book. She loved looking at the cow and the calf on the moon from her Mama’s arms. "Do be do be do, Boo and Moo...."

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

Every child and caretaker around the world would be able to pick up this book and understand the universal need for care, comfort and safety. Certain parts in the book which describes feelings of fear and feelings of comfort and familiarity are universal. The need to reassure our young ones that the world is a safe place and that there are safe hands which will protect you is important in today's busy world. This comfort can come even from familiar books in a stranger's hand.

Share your suggested book title

Boo and Moo

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

As explained in Zero to Three, the loving connections that children make during the early years will last their entire life time. The extended family including aunts and uncles play an important part in these formative years. A secure and comfortable routine with sufficient interaction and conversation as well as exposure to books and poems in their heritage languages will help them appreciate their culture and engage with grandparents and the elders in the family even after they grow up.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

The book looks at chores a mother has to do as a house maid or a homemaker in addition to looking after the baby. In nuclear families the support system for the Moms or Dads is limited. Therefore, they must make the time to have conversations and make strong human connections with young ones, especially in today's digital world.

Location: Country

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Location: State or Department

Tamil Nadu

Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I am a teacher. I started as a story teller in kindergarten schools and then became a teacher and worked from Kindergarten up to high school. I also train teachers to teach English and Corporates to communicate in English. I value empathy and compassion. As a teacher I have been empathetic towards my students and have alwyas tried to work with learners who needed more time than others to complete tasks. My hope and confidence in them has always helped them to believe that they can achieve success in a task. After my own dughters went off to college, I started to work with students from underprivileged backgrounds. I use stories as a way of helping them move beyond their immediate bavkground and help them dream of possibilities and aspire for realistic goals. I love to see the stars in their eyes as they think about the story or the various questions I ask them during a read aloud. Thoses stars and brightess in their eyes and the confident smile on their lips are my awards.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am a teacher and a teller of stories for children

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi rbkn null  welcome to the Challenge Community!
Lovely to see an interactive story thats fun and almost musical in its rhythm.
How might you evolve the story to give the caregiver a chance to teach the child literacy tools like new words, vocabulary, numbers etc?

Photo of rbkn Balakrishnan

Hi itika,
I loved the webinar and the insights it provided on ways to making the story a tool almost for seeking answers. I have tried to incorporate some conversation in the draft to improve the conversations an adult reading the book to a child can have. I have used alliteartion, rhyme and rhythm in the book since as soon as I heard 'influence of Philadelphia' I was reminded of Jazz and rhythm. Words like cow-calf, Mom-Granny, baby-Mama, show the mother and child relationship, and there is also the element of familiarity which brings comfort- to Lila the book in a stranger's hand was reassuring, to her mama, the moon as it appears from granny's house is reassuring.

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