Thumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump #Perfect Picture Book Friday

Need a fun read aloud? An awesome bedtime book? Look no further.

It’s nearly summer! Let’s go berry-picking, shall we?

Wagon on gravel goes bumpety-bump.

Illustration ⓒSimone Shin Text ⓒK.L.Going

Pebbles in the pond fall dunkety dunk.

Toes in the grass go thumpety-thump.

Bumpety, dunkety, thumpety-thump.

This has got to be one of the most playful language stories I’ve read in a longgggg time. One that centers around the short “u” sound. It’s also a celebration of the senses with touch, taste, sight, sound, and hearing all featured within its pages. It’s the kind of story that makes picture book writing seem “easy,” when, in fact, the precision mix of compressed language and complementary images has most likely taken months or years to get just right.

Not only does the wagon go bumpety-bump, “berries on tongue taste bumpety bump.” An inspired description, one that surprises and makes you think about how berries actually feel in your mouth.

Simone Shin’s illustrations celebrate movement and the joys of the senses as well, with a muted natural palette and a variety of textures.

Six times we get a cumulative set of action and sound words as we follow a pair of children through their wagon-going, berry-picking, pie-baking and eating, bath-taking, bedtime-snoozing day.

Berries go plunkety-plunk in the pail. Berries feel plumpety-plump in fingers. Bottoms in chairs slide slumpety-slump…..and we keep going until we make it through bathtime (the bath illustrations are soooo sweet and huggable, along with the tub sounds!) and then we arrive at bedtime.

Snuggle in the blankie in a lumpety-lump….

You have got to find this book at your library or local bookstore and read its most satisfying ending.

A fantastic bedtime read aloud.


Go berry picking and make your own pie.

Take a walk in a park and see how many different sounds you hear in nature. Can you make some of the sounds from the book?

Onomatopoeia for kids website

Make up your own words that sound like a noise you want to imitate. Try out different vowels. What kind of things would make a “plink”  versus a “plunk” sound? Are the things that make a “plink” sound smaller than the things that make a “plunk”?

TITLE: Thumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump




AGES: PRESCHOOL-2ND GRADE (older kids discuss onomatopoeia)

THEMES: NATURE, Sensory experiences, BEDTIME

For more perfect picture book recommendations, visit Susanna Hill’s website.




19 thoughts on “Thumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump #Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    What an entertaining share for children. I like the use of sound, which kids will adore. I kept thinking of the “Wheels on the Bus” feeling. But, this goes beyond that. Great illustrations.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It’s interesting that you mention Wheels On the Bus. If I were to compare the two, I’d say that Wheels on the Bus employs the poetic devices of a pop song, where the melody carries the words and associated meaning. I think that the poetic devices at work in this book tend much more toward the compression and musicality features of traditional poetry. It invites you to sit with the words and not let them pass you by at a brisk pace of Wheels On the Bus.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I think you’ll love it! It’s a testament to what can be done with few words and fabulous illustrations. The ending provides the heart that will keep readers coming back over and over again.

  2. Joanna says:

    This is cool as I wouldn’t naturally associate berry picking with lending itself to a story chock full of onomatopoeia! Great resource for kids, too.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Oh yes. This took me immediately to all of my past berry-picking experiences, not just blueberries. Strawberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. But the way the author extends that experience so that the story arc fills the day from morning to evening, including the going, the playing, the picking, the baking, the eating, the bathing, the sleeping, is so perfect. I definitely feel like I’m in the hands of a master poet (and illustrator) when reading this book.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, it is! And it’s one of those bedtime books that parents won’t balk at reading again and again, because it’s so fun to read AND because readers will want to study the illustrations after they’ve read the handful of words that appear on each spread.

  3. Ste J says:

    Sounds are something one tends to forget about when reading alone but out loud they become something more intense. Even adults become kids when it come to word sounds.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      You sir, whether you realize it or not, will soon be embarking upon years of reading aloud. I’m trying to prepare you by giving your a treasure trove of good recommendations.

  4. Ste J says:

    I fear the mockery that may follow with my bad voice and tendency to stumble over words. I look forward to buying lots of books and your blog is going to be invaluable! I already have a children’s copy of The Wind in the WIllows because I’m planning ahead.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I could easily see taking kids on a walk or to the playground or to the park after reading this book and having them come up with words for sounds as you explore. It would be great fun!

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