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The Drum

Ken Wilson Max, Catell Ronca (illus)
Tiny Owl
Age 0-3

The Drum is a vibrant picture book for the very young which explores body movements, rhythm and life. When the drum starts playing, people start moving. This is a book which will make toddlers and their parents want to beat out rhythms or get up and dance.

Watch a trailer below.


Share the story

Read aloud
Read the book to your child, doing some of the actions as you read.

Join in
As you read the book again, demonstrate the different actions such as shaking your hips or stomping your feet. Children will enjoy joining in. The book has a strong rhythm and you could show your child how to tap this out with their hands on the floor or by clapping their hands as you say the words.

Talk about the book

  • Look for all the drums in the illustrations. Talk about the animals in the final spread – do children know what they are? What sounds do they make?

  • Show your child how to feel their heartbeat and yours.

  • What would you play on the drum like the one on the last page? Make up some rhythms together.

Things to make and do

Dance the story
When children are familiar with the words they can join in saying them with you and enjoy doing the movements together.

Beat a drum ( a noisy activity!)
Collect together different containers such as plastic boxes, wooden bowls or saucepans to be drums and wooden spoons for drumsticks and play rhythms together listening to the different sounds you make. If you want to make a drum for your child, this link is helpful:

Play a rhythm
With older children you could try clapping and tapping rhythms together – can your child copy you or join in?

Find out more

This book is the first of a new series called Children, Music, Life from Publisher Tiny Owl who say: ‘Music is one of most emotional and enduring forms of storytelling; early cultures often share their stories through music.’

  • Authors Philip Pullman and Pippa Goodheart talk about the importance of music for young children here

  • Watch rural African children playing drums

  • For a poem about rhythm and life see our patron Michael Rosen perform Hand on the Bridge here