Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What are those hand-clapping routines called?

A few months ago, I gave Addie a picture book called, "Miss Lucy had a Baby." The book was an illustrated version of the song we sang as kids, the one we accompanied with a complicated hand-clapping routine with a friend. What on earth did we call those routines? Patty-cakes? I have no idea, but you know what I'm talking about.

As with all books, "Miss Lucy" got me thinking... and I went back to the other songs and rhymes we sang as kids. Did any of them have a chance of connecting with kids in this century?

Since I was a city kid, we did a lot of jump rope and those patty-cake (?) games to songs. One of the jump rope songs went like this: A- my name is Alice and my husband's name is Andy. We come from Alabama and we sell apples. B- my name is Barbara and my husband's name is Bob. We come from Brooklyn and we sell bagels. You get the idea. The basics of the song might be fun, but the structure we used was way too rigid for this new generation. So I played around with the structure, my objective being a profile of America that shows our diversity and the many wonderful places and people we have. The resulting picture book out with some beta readers now, and hopefully I'll get some feedback soon. I plan to send it out to an agent in the next couple months.

But I'm faced with a problem. When I write the cover letter to an agent, how do I describe the origin of the story when I don't know what those hand-clapping routines are called?


  1. What, NO answers -- in 5 years??! I'm trying to find this answer out right now, as well, which is how I found your blog. Not only do I still need to know if there's a name, other than Synchronized Clapping or suchlike, for this phenom...but now I *also* want to know how things progressed with your book? Best wishes and many clapping returns -ENJ

    1. Hi Enna,
      Near as I can tell, they're just called hand clapping songs and games.
      The book I mentioned in the blog post has been rejected by many agents and editors and sadly, lives only on my computer. Someday soon I hope to tweak it and and see if another generation of agents and editors might find it a worthwhile project.