Enjoy some imaginative learning fun with Trout Fishing in America’s song “Big Trouble,” a song expressing the trepidation a kid feels when he thinks about his parents coming home and finding the mayhem caused when “the monsters came to my house to play.”
The monsters may be fantasy and fiction, but the feeling is one most kids can relate to. Ask kids whether they’ve ever had an accident in the house or gotten into trouble with friends. How does it feel as they think about what their parents will say when they find out?
Then play the song (download the mp3 of Big Trouble or buy the album by clicking on the title below) and read the lyrics.
My parents went out this afternoon,
And I was all alone.
I sure wish I’d gone with them,
Wish I’d never stayed at home.
‘Cause I’m gonna be in Big Trouble
When my parents get back today.
‘Cause this afternoon the monsters came
To my house to play.
There was a dragon in the kitchen,
that’s why the ceiling’s black.
And a vampire drank all the Kool-Aid,
And a witch chased off the cat.
The Fly threw up some oopy goop
And that’s what clogged the drain.
And the Blob sat on the sofa,
And he left an awful stain.
Well Frankenstein wanted to play baseball.
So I told him to play outside.
He didn’t hear a word I said,
That’s how the TV died.
What happened to the table?
They’re probably going to ask.
There was a big guy with a chainsaw
And a scary hockey mask.
Well the ghost went through the closet
He knocked the clothes all off the rack.
And the mummy ripped the sheets up and wore them
‘Cause he was starting to unwrap.
A werewolf ate all the cookies,
And then he ate the cookie jar.
And he was going to eat me, too,
So I hid behind the door.
Once you’ve enjoyed the song, choose one or more of these activities to practice basic skills and extend the learning:
- Underline the rhymes in the lyrics and find the rhyming pairs.
- Have students identify the monsters listed in the song. Some, such as The Fly and The Blob, are from movies. Frankenstein is a novel (the doctor, not the monster, is named Frankenstein — most kids don’t know this). Werewolves and ghosts are creatures of folklore, and mummies are quite real — but the idea of mummies as monsters is probably also from the movie. Depending on the grade level, students can sort the monsters into these groups or research their origins. Click through the links on all but the movies to find lesson plans, activities, and links on those monsters.
- Have students draw a map of the house in the song, showing the damage done by the monsters. Older students can research to estimate the cost of the damages.
- “Big Trouble” is in a minor key. Use the Exploratorium’s major and minor key exploration to learn more about the spooky sounds of minor keys.
- Once you’ve thoroughly explored the sound and the meaning of the song, challenge students to write what happened when the mosters came to their houses to play!