City Lullaby

City Lullaby
By Marilyn Singer, Ill. Carll Cneut


Singer, M. 2007. City lullaby. NY: Houghton Mifflin.

What a racket outside! The city is alive with vibrant sound in this long illustrated poem that details all the things that are happening on the street while a baby sleeps on in the stroller. There are garbage cans bashing, car alarms ringing, cabs rattling, phones ringing, horns beeping, helicopters hovering, dogs barking, and throughout all this, the baby in the stroller still sleeps. It isn’t until the very end, with all of those noises together in a perfect symphony, that the littlest twitter from a bird wakes the baby up.

Quantitative Summary:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 6.2
Gunning-Fog Score 5.7
Coleman-Liau Index 15.9
SMOG Index 4.4
Automated Readability Index 8.1
Average Grade Level 8.1

No AR/Lexile info, so I assume it’s preschool level/K-3 and best as an adult directed book.

Qualitative Summary:
This is a great book for counting and for the concepts of onomatopoeia. Each page features detailed illustrations that require close attention to count all of the items and sounds that are being described. The structure is low, as this is a very straightforward chronology, describing a scene playing out on the street below in a matter of minutes. The language is Middle Low, using onomatopoeia and poetic language.

Curriculum Tie-Ins:
Students in language arts could use this as an example for writing onomatopoeia in poetry and could write their own “lullaby” about a certain scene (describing the elements and sounds around them). Younger students could use this in learning the basics of counting.



Gr. 3 English


  • 4. Use elements of poetry to facilitate understanding


  1. Use structural features such as structure and form including lines and stanzas, shape, refrain, chorus, and rhyme scheme to identify poetry as a literary form
  1. Identify and explain the meaning of words, lines, and stanzas
    Assessment limits:
    • Literal versus figurative meaning
  1. Identify and explain sound elements of poetry
    Assessment limits:
  1. Identify and explain other poetic elements such as settingmoodtone, etc., that contribute to meaning
    Assessment limits:
    • Elements of grade-appropriate lyric and narrative poems that contribute to meaning

Author’s website: