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Read and Discuss: City Lullaby

Listen to the sounds of the city, from the jing-a-ling of the ice cream truck to the howling police car siren.


  • City Lullaby by Marilyn Singer

Key Science Concepts

  • Different objects make different sounds.
  • Sounds can vary in volume (loud and soft), and pitch (high and low).
  • A sound becomes louder when the force of the action that is creating the sound is increased. A sound becomes softer, or quieter, when the force is decreased.


Before you read: Show children the cover, and read the title and author’s name. Ask, Can you describe what you see on the cover? Where do you think the story takes place? Ask children to think about the sounds the people and cars on the book cover might make. Point to a car and ask, What sound do you think the car will make? Can you imitate the sound? Do you think it will be loud or quiet?

As you read: You may want to read the book straight through once. On a second reading, tell children that on each page there’s a picture of a baby in a baby carriage. Ask them to point out the baby on each page. In addition to the text, read the sounds on the left-hand pages that accompany the illustrations.

After you read: Flip through the pages again and ask children to make some of the city sounds they heard in the book. Invite them to describe the sounds. Are the sounds quiet or loud, high or low? At the end, the baby wakes up. Ask, Do you think it would be easy to fall asleep in a stroller on a busy city street? Why or why not? What sound finally woke the baby? Did the baby seem happy or cranky to be awake? Why do you think that? What kinds of sounds have you heard that are like the ones in the book?