Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Board Books)

by Al Perkins

Board book, 1998



Call number




Random House Books for Young Readers (1998), Edition: Board Book, 24 pages


Easy-to-read rhyming text describes what can be done on a drum with hand, fingers, and thumb.

Media reviews

"It's not (just) the refrain that makes this book so great -- it's the monkeys. Illustrator Eric Gurney's drumming monkeys are a motley collection of comic beatnik simians, sporting sweater-vests, giant muttonchops, goatees, and big golden rings."

User reviews

LibraryThing member HairyGromwell
I can not tell you how many times my poor parents were forced to read this book to me. All I know was that I never, ever tired of it. The illustrations are fabulous, with bright, vivid colors and great 60s-era cartoons. The text is what captivated me, I think - the rhythms of the words are like a
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hypnotic song "one thumb, one thumb, drumming on a drum....dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum dum dum." I can practically recite it from memory 30 years after I stopped demanding nightly readings (although, in a nostalgic moment, I did ask my parents to read it to me on my latest visit, and we still enjoyed it). It is simple - this is not Dickens' prose, and the people to whom I've recommended it often look skeptical, but this book worked its magic on me as no other did. Even after I started reading more advanced books, I kept returning to this one for the rhythms. One thing to note is that the original book is very hard to find in stores. When I've found this book on the shelves, it has usually been an abridged version.

I still love it.
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LibraryThing member missmath144
great story time book for pre-schoolers, and older kids will still enjoy the rhythm of the rhymes
LibraryThing member conuly
This book is wonderful for little-little children learning to speak, and also for children learning to read.

It's a basic early reader, stringing together rhyming phrases with cute illustrations. And it works. Definitely pick this one up.
LibraryThing member rfewell
I loved this book as a kid. It was one of the first that I could read all the way through. The rhythm is great for kids learning words and rhyming.
LibraryThing member DBake
My kids have each gone through a phase (one in it right now) of wanting to read this book "'gain" and "'gain" and "'gain." The rhythm of the language is fantastic.
LibraryThing member babychan
As I am finding to be true generally, my daughter has her own taste in books. This book bores the hell out of me and I don't much care for the illustrations. What can you do, kiddo makes the rules about this. At 8 months, it's her favorite bedtime book. The words are very rhythmic and invite you to
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drum on the book or a lap while reading. Sturdy construction stands up to a lot of chewing.
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LibraryThing member kerles211
This was one of my favorites when I was a kid. My son loves it too.
LibraryThing member lquilter
Too, too, catchy. Lots of fun to read and easy to memorize for little ones.
LibraryThing member bdecossa
This book talks about monkeys using their hands, fingers, and thumbs to perform different actions. Actions such as playing drums, wearing rings, picking apples, and waving hello. This book also has a catchy rhythm to it.
LibraryThing member jinmoon
With the help of your monkey friends, you will learn how you can drum with your hands and fingers. Explore the many different ways you can drum and hear the sound that drumming makes. The repetitions make it easy for young readers to understand the parts of the body as well as learning the sound of
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the drums. The writing style is a simple sentence with short, repetitive onomonopia. It provides a steady flow and continues to hold the reader’s attention. The illustrations show vivid colors and a range of actions portrayed by the monkeys. Every word in the book is describing the illustration, forming a perfect harmony. You can almost see and hear the sound in the background.

There are so many ways a reader can interact with this book. By reading the book and hearing the sound, it will stimulate the reader’s hearing. By looking at the illustration, it will stimulate their sight. And when parents help act out the scenes, showing the readers what to do, it can stimulate their sense of touch. With rounded edges, this book is safe for all ages and be a great addition to the library.
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LibraryThing member WendyBrown
This is a fun book about hands, fingers, and thumbs. This book focuses on different things a person can do with their hands. It is a very fun and quick read.

Personal Reaction:
I love Dr. Seuss books. These are great to read with young children. I felt this was a great choice because of Dr.
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Seuss celebrating a birthday this week and my children have had fun at school reading Dr. Seuss books by the Cat in a Hat!

Classroom Extension:
1. I could use this book to teach very young children about their hands and what uses their hands are for.
2. This would also be a great book to begin to teach children some easy words
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LibraryThing member mayalanda
Ali loves this story, but I don't... I bought it for her without looking at it closely. It bothers me that the the text says "monkeys" but the pictures show chimpanzees ... the rhyme is cute however, and it's fun for my daughter.
LibraryThing member awhite43
I enjoyed the book “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” by Al Perkins. I liked the fact that the author wrote the book in a simple manner, using a few simple rhyming phrases following a simple pattern of beats. The book reads like singing a song and encourages the reader to continue forward to the next
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page. The illustrations of monkeys banging on drums are simple and I enjoy the familiar “Dr. Seuss” style of the drawings. As the book progresses the amount of monkeys increases until it is finally millions of monkeys on the final few pages. The book does a good job of telling a simple story through the use of rhyme and even injects some mathematical concepts through the increasing numbers of the monkeys. The big idea of the book is less about story and more intended as a tool to develop reading skills including fluency and phonemic awareness.
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LibraryThing member jimmaclachlan
I remember this one so well that I had to chant it aloud with a smile on my face. It's been a while. I got a couple of the dum ditty's & hum ditty's confused, but not bad after 20 years. I guess I read it A LOT for most of a decade. Cute pictures, too.

Marg bought 4 of these books for the upcoming
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grandmonster & asked me to mail them. I had to read them first. They're in a nifty 4"x6" thick cardboard format, unlike the ones we had for our kids. Hopefully harder for little fingers to tear.
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LibraryThing member kornelas1
Be prepared to ascribed the melodic “Dum ditty / Dum ditty / Dum dum dum” to every aspect of life after reading this book. This board book charmingly engages the mind, utilizing simple but effective rhythms that match tempo with the tactile stimuli presented within the story. Colors and shapes
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abound as a band of monkeys roam through the musical world, encountering new colors and objects in ways that make counting and identification fun. Through this repetition of colors, shapes, and counts the book progresses to increasingly complex interactions that invite interaction rather than boredom. Not surprisingly, the book contains many potential lessons, identifying body parts, learning to play with a drum, counting (how many rings are on the monkey’s finger?), learning colors, and the various things hands are able to do. The book is also well constructed to withstand the temptation of play, and the size is perfect for inquisitive hands with easy to turn pages.
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LibraryThing member LaurenVormack
I really like this book for multiple reasons. First, I like the language the author used. The author used patterned language like, “Monkeys drum….and monkeys hum” that engages the reader to the story. Second, I like how the text and story creates music. While I read, “One hand two hands
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drumming on a drum. Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum”, I could hear the beat in my head. The language is also patterned because the beat, “dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum” is repeated multiple times throughout the book. The more the text shows this, the more the reader can really feel the beat, which is the purpose of repeating it. Third, I like how the text also shows different kinds of instruments and the sounds they make. For example, it says, “Hands play banjos strum strum strum” and “Hands play fiddles zum zum zum.” The reader can infer what kind of noise these instruments make by reading the text and creating a beat to go along with it. The main idea of this book is to show its readers what they can do with their hands, fingers, thumbs such as picking apples and plums, and playing drums.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
This is worthy and spirited, although its manic energy and island rhythms would have been better served if it came with, like, a set of bongo drums (ditty drums ditty drums drums drums). But one makes do, of course, especially if one is a one-year-old one with a fine set of hands hands fingers
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thumbs for bashing and a throat for monkey calls.
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LibraryThing member Hhaddad1
This is a cute little book that explains hands, fingers and thumbs. This is definitely a book for very early readers. I read this book with my two year-olds at work and they love to wave their hands around during certain parts of the book.
LibraryThing member bespen
Also a classic with a fantastic rhyming scheme.
LibraryThing member adaq
Too, too, catchy. Lots of fun to read and easy to memorize for little ones. And, hits that rare spot of the book that is okay gor grown-ups to read over and over, and over, again. Highly recommended.
LibraryThing member mykl-s
-one of my favorite poems, still
LibraryThing member LibrarianRyan
Upon reading this book I was trying to figure out why this book was banned. It was a story of monkeys. They showed off their fingers, they played the drums and other instruments, and talked with friends. Why was this book banned? Apparently, someone thought that this book was associating African
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culture with monkeys. I don’t see this because the moneys do more than play drums, they also play banjos and fiddles. I don’t think African culture when I think banjos and fiddles. I think deep south and dueling banjos, and the Hatfields and McCoys comes more to mind. So, I do not see the connection of this story to African culture and do not feel it’s racist. HOWEVER, anyone who does feel that, has valid feelings, and I will not denigrate that. If someone feels that way, then yes, this is a problematic book. But should this book be banned… No.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

5.75 inches


0679890483 / 9780679890485



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