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Rexie-Roo: Rhythm and Rhyme

Angelica is surprised to learn her baby brother is learning to communicate before he can even say a word.

Photo of Sara Beck
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I’m Angelica, and this is my baby brother, Rex. He doesn’t do much yet, but Daddy says he’s gonna be just like me – always up to something. So far, he mostly cries and pees into the air when nobody’s looking. I try to get Rex to play with me, but mostly he just opens his eyes real wide and coos little baby sounds, like ba-ba-ba-ba. I asked daddy when he’s going to learn to talk, and Daddy said he’s already learning! I wasn’t sure, so I started trying little tricks with him to see if he knows the names for things. I held up a pencil and a babydoll, and I whispered to him, “Rexie-roo-roo, which one’s the pencil?” Well, Rexie-roo-roo went boo-hoo-hoo. I don’t think he knows the word pencil. Daddy said I could try singing something that I make up, like a rhyme. Daddy said babies love a beat, so I clapped my hands to give my rhyme a beat. “Put on your shoe, my Rexie-Rexie-Roo,” I tried. Rex smiled a little smile, so I tried again. “Is it red or is it blue, my Rexie-Rexie-Roo?” Rex giggled! I kept singing, a little louder. “We’re going out to play and we’re taking the train so we don’t get stuck in the rain, rain rain…” Rex shrieked. Ba-ba-ba-ba, he sang back. Rex and I sang to each other all afternoon. Rex is learning to talk all right, but Daddy forgot the most important part. I’m the one teaching him!

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

Caregivers, parents and siblings don't always realize how much communication babies are doing before they can say a word. Angelica learns that her baby brother Rex enjoys rhythm, rhyme, and singing with his big sister, and she is happy to take all the credit for teaching him to talk. Readers will see Angelica in action, making up silly rhymes and communicating back and forth with her brother, and they will be inspired to use rhythm and rhyme for social interaction with their own little ones.

Share your suggested book title

Put on Your Shoe, my Rexie-Rexie-Roo

Location: Country


Location: State or Department

Randolph College, Psychology Department

Location: City

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

As an assistant professor of psychology at Randolph College, my research centers on how children’s active engagement with music and media can be leveraged to facilitate prosocial behavior and inclusion. As a lifelong musician and a firm believer that everyone can “do” music, I am interested in how making music with others can foster social bonding in both children and adults. As a parent and a scholar, I deeply value the power of children's books to move the parenting needle on so many things, including introducing parenting hacks (like using singing to get your infant child engaged!) and starting conversations with older children about difficult topics like race and class. Specifically, supporting language development through infant-directed singing is a topic I have not seen addressed in an excellent and widely distributed children's picture book.

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)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists
  • I am/we are a formal part of a University or Research Institution


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

This tells the important story of acceptance.
Toddlers don't always want a new baby around and this one shows that it is fine even fun to have a baby brother/sister around.
Good luck to us all.

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