Reading Group Guide
A Reading & Activity Guide to
the SILLY DILLY Books
THE SILLY DILLY BOOKS
All written by Alan Katz; illustrated by David Catrow
- Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs. 2001.
- I’m Still Here in the Bathtub; Brand New Silly Dilly Songs. 2003.
- Where Did They Hide My Presents? Silly Dilly Christmas Songs. 2005.
- Are You Quite Polite? Silly Dilly Manners Songs. 2006.
- Smelly Locker; Silly Dilly School Songs. 2008.
- On Top of the Potty and Other Get-Up-And-Go Songs. 2008.
- Going, Going, Gone! And Other Silly Dilly Sports Songs. 2009
- Too Much Kissing! And Other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents. 2010.
- Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs. 2011.
SILLY DILLY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs
1. What are some of the ordinary familiar moments at home that the author, Alan Katz, turns into Silly Dilly songs in Take Me Out of the Bathtub?
2. Why do you think the author calls these songs “silly dilly” songs?
I’m Still Here in the Bathtub; Brand New Silly Dilly Songs
3. In some songs in I’m Still Here in the Bathtub, the author, Alan Katz, “parodies” the usual lyrics of the song. For example, he uses “He’s got the whole beach in his pants” instead of “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” That’s called a “parody.” Can you locate other examples of this kind of parody?
4. In “The Meals at My Camp,” the illustrator, David Catrow, shows an unusual creature made of several different animals and foods running from a camp. Which foods can you identify in the picture and the song? Have you ever had “yucky” foods at camp?
Where Did They Hide My Presents? Silly Dilly Christmas Songs
5. What does Katz warn us to beware of in the Silly Dilly song, “There Are Lots of Things I Will Warn ‘Bout Christmas” in Where Did They Hide My Presents? Silly Dilly Christmas Songs?
6. Which activity do you like better, trimming the Christmas tree (“Twim the Twee”) or looking through catalogs (“Toy Catalogs”)? Why? Does the Silly Dilly song help you decide? Which is worse, freezing while caroling (“We’re Caroling”) or getting stuck in Christmas crowds (“Pick Me Up!”)? Why? Does the Silly Dilly song remind you of your experiences with caroling or crowds?
Are You Quite Polite? Silly Dilly Manners Songs
7. In Are You Quite Polite? Silly Dilly Manners Songs, the author features proper behavior in several situations: at home, at school, at the dinner table, at a birthday party, and in the library. Which situation is the most challenging for you to remember your manners? Which Silly Dilly songs reflect which situation (home, school, dinner, parties, the library)? Can you match them?
8. Which of the Silly Dilly poems in Are You Quite Polite? shows us how good manners can help stop germs from spreading and keep everyone more healthy?
9. In “Rules, Rules, Rules,” the Silly Dilly song includes many, many things we should not do. Do you agree with the last line of the poem? Does following rules mean not having fun? Does being a kid mean having no rules?
Smelly Locker; Silly Dilly School Songs
10. Sometimes the author turns the tables and it’s the grown ups who are being Silly Dilly. Who is getting all the advice in “Tomorrow Is Our Class Picture Day!”?
11. Which school topics does the author include in this collection of Silly Dilly songs, Smelly Locker; Silly Dilly School Songs? Which of these school experiences have you had (lockers, backpacks, tests, homework, hall passes, band, picture day, lunch, lost and found, recess, math, passing notes, oral reports)? Which were good experiences and which were not-so-good?
On Top of the Potty and Other Get-Up-And-Go Songs
12. When you think back about being very small or remember how younger brothers or sister behave, what do you think is the most difficult part about learning to use the potty? Which challenges does Katz include in the Silly Dilly songs in On Top of the Potty and Other Get-Up-And-Go Songs?
13. In the poem, “Scrub, Scrub, Scrub Your Hands,” the poet reminds us about the single most important thing we can do to help stop spreading germs. What is that?
Going, Going, Gone! And Other Silly Dilly Sports Songs
14. In Going, Going, Gone!, some of the songs are about winning at a sport, some about losing, and some about just trying it out. Which is the most interesting to you and why?
15. In “Tennis is a Complicated Sport,” the poet reminds us that each sport has its own terminology or lingo we have to learn as we learn the sport (like the meaning of “love,” “racket,” and “match” in tennis). Which sports terms can you identify in the other poems about other sports, such as baseball, soccer, swimming, archery, fishing, golfing, skating, cycling, football, or bowling?
Too Much Kissing! And Other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents
16. In several of the Silly Dilly songs in Too Much Kissing, especially “Mind Your Reminders,” we get a list of chores that kids are often responsible for. What do those usually include? Which are your responsibility?
17. There is a surprise at the end of “My Mother Just Rushes Through Bedtime.” Can you figure it out? Why do you think the author ended the song this way?
Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs
18. What are some of the most hilarious and humorous experiences at summer camp that the author, Alan Katz, turns into Silly Dilly songs in Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer? Which are some of the most awful? Can awful experiences become hilarious? How?
19. Which Silly Dilly camp songs start with a good feeling or happy experience, but then end with a surprise twist?
20. In the title Silly Dilly song, “Mosquitoes are Ruining My Summer,” what finally helps prevent mosquito bites? And what “side effects” occur?
SILLY DILLY ACTIVITIES
SINGING SILLY DILLY SONGS
The Silly Dilly collection is based on songs, so start by singing them! If you don’t know the tunes designated for each Silly Dilly song, ask a grown up or research it on the Internet. See if you can locate the sheet music for some of the song tunes and find someone who can play the tune on the piano (or another instrument). Ask a music teacher about adding percussion instruments (tambourine, triangle, etc.) to a sing-along of Silly Dilly songs.
If you want to go all the way, make a list of all the song tunes used in the Silly Dilly songs and make up more Silly Dilly songs of your own to accompany the familiar song tunes.
PERFORMING SILLY DILLINESS
Once you’ve gotten some practice actually singing Silly Dilly songs, plan a performance of some of your favorites for the audience of your choice. Different kids can each choose a different song to practice and perform, alone, with a partner or in small groups; with percussion instruments or homemade Silly Dilly instruments (ala a Stomp concert). Practice by singing along with three of the Silly Dilly books available as unabridged audiobooks (on CD) from Brilliance Audio. This includes:
- Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs
- I’m Still Here in the Bathtub; Brand New Silly Dilly Songs
- Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs
Each CD has all 14 Silly Dilly songs for each book along with vocals, and 14 more tracks without vocals so kids can sing along to the music, including a lyrics booklet. You can download an audio sample of the title poems from each of these three books here:
As an extra bonus, work with a special education teacher or sign language interpreter to add motions or American Sign Language (ASL) to your performance.
SILLY DILLY MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTIONS
If you’re singing Silly Dilly songs or even performing them for an audience, it’s time to record it. Make a video, podcast, or PowerPoint presentation of your Silly Dilly singing. Share it via the school or library web site or on TeacherTube or YouTube. Or consider creating a digital trailer of your favorite Silly Dilly song with images that reflect the words of the song and add an audiotrack of your singing the Silly Dilly song. Here is a short video for the Silly Dilly song “The Yogurt Flies Straight From my Brother” from Take Me Out of the Bathtub: http://tinyurl.com/6a744bw
And here is a short video created by the publisher featuring the author Alan Katz:
WRITING SILLY DILLY SONGS
If you enjoy singing Silly Dilly songs, you may like making up your own Silly Dilly songs. Here are a few of the basic ingredients in Alan Katz’s Silly Dilly songbooks (try one or two):
- Turn ordinary familiar moments into Silly Dilly songs.
- Try a parody of a familiar song lyric or rhyme.
- Start by listing good things, then list bad things (or reverse that).
- Finish with a surprise ending.
- Think about listing warnings, cautions or rules.
Alan Katz takes familiar moments at home like taking a bath, changing the TV channel, or having a babysitter and turns them into Silly Dilly songs. Identify other after-school experiences that could be turned into Silly Dilly songs. Work with a partner or as a whole group to brainstorm the topic, choose a song tune, make a list of details, write 2-3 stanzas, and fit the words to the rhythm of your chosen song tune. (Don’t necessarily worry about rhyming.) Then sing your new Silly Dilly song!
CREATING SILLY DILLY ART
The illustrations of David Catrow fill the pages of ALL the Silly Dilly songbooks. His unique and distinctive style is strong on exaggeration, caricature, and expressive cartoon characters all in wild splashes of vivid color. Try your hand at imitating his art by creating a new cartoon scene for one of your favorite Silly Dilly songs (or a new Silly Dilly song of your own). To create your own kid Catrow Silly Dilly character, start with a lemon-shaped head, add a long skinny neck, plus a triangle-shaped body, thin arms, and short legs-- the zanier the better.
Or try making paper plate faces based on Catrow’s characters to hold up while singing Silly Dilly songs aloud. Add googly eyes and wild and crazy yarn hair to the paper plate “masks” just for fun. Videotape and share your performance.
SEARCHING SILLY DILLY WEB RESOURCES
If you want to learn more about the Silly Dilly books, the author, Alan Katz, or the illustrator, David Catrow, there are several web site resources that are fun to check out. Look for these:
Author’s web site: http://www.alankatzbooks.com/
Illustrator’s web site: http://www.catrow.com/
Illustrator’s blog, The Think Bottle Blog: http://www.catrow.com/blog/
Consider creating your own Silly Dilly blog site to share your performances of Silly Dilly songs or your own original Silly Dilly songs.
Guide created by Sylvia M. Vardell, Ph.D. Professor at Texas Woman’s University’s School of Library & Information Studies. This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.