Pinkle, Pinkle (Little) Tsar

Tilly has just started ‘singing’, and her favourite (and pretty much only) song is ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’. Here she is performing in a venue she likes to describe as ‘Ah Cah’.

You will notice that, thus far, she only really sings the first line, and then a word or two from most of the subsequent lines. She also, it must be said, struggles a bit with the pronunciation. When faced with some consonants (e.g. the letter ‘c’) or consonant pairs (e.g. ‘Tw’) she will often fall back on her default consonant (the trusty old plosive – ‘p’). Hence the title of this post.

There are two reasons why I draw all this to your attention (aside from the obvious cuteness of it). The first is that, by a bizarre coincidence, we actually have a friend who we refer to as ‘Pinkle’. What are the chances?! When I informed him that he was the subject of Tilly’s first outing as a lyricist he was understandably chuffed. Who wouldn’t be?

The second reason for sharing Tilly’s wordsmithery flows from the first. You see, the idea that when Tilly sings ‘Pinkle, Pinkle’ she might actually be singing about a real person – rather than just being guilty of a pronunciation error – created a lightbulb moment for me. Pinkle may be our friend, but could he not also be a lovable children’s book character? ‘Pinkle, Pinkle Little Tsar’ – it would just write itself. A midget Russian monarch overcomes his diminutive stature and demeaning nickname to win the love and loyalty of his people. You’d laugh, you’d cry…

‘Pinkle, Pinkle Little Tsar’ wouldn’t just be a stand alone classic though. It could be the first in a series of books with titles that come from kid’s ‘versions’ of classic songs. A quick google led me to a entire website devoted to kids misheard lyrics –, which I’m intending to make the database for my research. I’ve already found one promising title – ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep, Itty Bitty Bull’. I’m thinking of this as a book about friendship. A Black Sheep (literally and metaphorically) called ‘Baa Baa’ gets into all kinds of sticky situations, and each time his faithful friend, a pint-sized Bull called ‘Itty Bitty’, comes to his rescue. Is there a Nobel Prize for Children’s Literature?

You can click here to see that I didn’t just make up ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep, Itty Bitty Bull’. While you there, feel free to check through the website yourself to find more promising book titles. You may also want to share with me lyrics that your own children, or children known to you, have butchered in amusing ways. I am more than happy to pay a finders fee for good ideas – or we can negotiate a small percentage of the royalties, if you would prefer.

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1 Response to Pinkle, Pinkle (Little) Tsar

  1. mrbolano says:

    I must admit, I take much pleasure in teaching my kids the wrong lyrics. You think Miffy is such a Sweet Little Bunny? Have you seen who she hangs out with and the mess they make? “Boris, Grunty, Barbara Bear. Rabbit pellets everywhere!”

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