'Philadelphia' Imagination

The Early Show: Sandra Boynton and Rene CBS/The Early Show

From tap-dancing rhinos to singing cows, children's author Sandra Boynton has offered children a stable of humorous critters for more than two decades.

Her latest project, "Philadelphia Chickens" is a songbook with an accompanying CD featuring new tunes to delight young listeners.

Boynton visited The Early Show to discuss the project along with Michael Bacon of The Bacon Brothers, who performed the title song.

The author, originally from Philadelphia, had a hand on almost every aspect of the book. Boynton wrote and illustrated the book, wrote all the lyrics in "Philadelphia Chickens" and co-wrote the music with Michael Ford. The two collaborated on an earlier project called "Rhinoceros Tap." On that project, Ford wrote all the music. Boynton says the music and the words came simultaneously for "Philadelphia Chickens."

The CD contains a variety of musical styles from swing to blues and the songs are each performed by a different person. Boynton says she was looking for people who could not only sing, but great actors who could convey the theatrical elements of the song. Her son Keith and daughter Darcy, both college students and singers, perform on the CD. But, she was also able to enlist the help of some big-name celebrities.

Meryl Streep is a neighbor of Boynton's and heard the tapes when Boynton was first creating it. Streep asked to be included in the project. Actress Laura Linney is a friend of Boynton's and she also signed on early. Then the two women enlisted the help of a few of their musical pals; Kevin Kline and Eric Stolz. The CD was recorded in Boynton's home studio as well as at a studio in New York City.

Boynton is best known to many for greeting cards that show off the same wacky animal characters her reading public has come to know and love. She started making the cards to help pay her way through graduate school. Strangely, she says, she is more comfortable writing instead of illustrating.

Part of the author's, contributors' and publisher's royalties will go to Cystic Fibrosis and Juvenile Diabetes Foundations.
  • Rome Neal

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