Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Children's Music Worth Singing About!

As the selector for children's music for the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, I come across and sample a lot of music recorded for children and families. If you think, as I once thought, that there isn't much more to the children's music industry than wonderful classics like Raffi, Ella Jenkins, Hap Palmer and a plethora of kids' television and movie-inspired soundtracks, you're in for a pleasant surprise! Whatever your kids' or your own personal music tastes, there are plenty of great musicians that have turned to making music for children. For inspiration on new children's music that the whole family will appreciate, try these additional review sources:
  • Zooglobble - "Children and Family Music Reviews - music for the kids that parents won't hate!" Blogger and music critic, Stefan Shepherd, shares his take on the best children's music available.
  • - Search the Kids/Family section for editor's picks, customer reviews, and listen to samples of songs. Diverse styles and independent musicians included.
  • The Pokey Pup - "Hip stuff for cool kids, and their parents." This is a commercial site, but offers a diverse collection of the best and latest in children's music. Album summaries included, and some song samples.
A few of my new favorites:

Best Friends: Rockin' Music for Kids / Sue Schnitzer.
A good option for kids and parents who like a rockin' version of kids music. This is a good album for kids (and parents!) who love to dance...and dance...and dance!

Sue Schnitzer's website:

Robbie Schaefer's Songs for Kids Like Us / Robbie Schaefer
The first track, "No, No, No" is a great song about a) that favorite toddler word "no", and b) a kid brother's refusal to grow up. Good renditions of "There Ain't No Bugs on Me" and "There's a Hole in the Bucket" are included. Energetic music to get the kids movin'!

Robbie Schaefer is the acclaimed singer/songwriter of the folk/pop band Eddie From Ohio. To find out more check out his website dedicated to his first kids album here.

Bright Spaces 2: Family Music to Benefit Children in Crisis
This is my personal favorite children's music compilation of 2006. Grammy-nominated children's musician, Dan Zanes, compiled a wonderful variety of children's music in this benefit for Bright Horizons and Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, which benefits children in crisis situations.

Included is Elizabeth Mitchell's rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Little Sack of Sugar" - a wonderful tune to share with babies. "Two Women at Lopinot, Trinidad" by Jane and Louisa and "Blackbird Get Up" by the Johnson Girls offer children fabulous selections of world music that are so good they send a chill up my spine. But perhaps my favorite song on this album is "Give it a Kiss" by the Wingdale Community Singers. If anyone has ever captured the innocence and enormous heart of a toddler or preschooler, this is it. I just can't say enough good things about this album!

Rockin' in the Forest with Farmer Jason / Farmer Jason
Alt-country rocker, Jason Ringenberg, has put together a fun, rockin' album for kids. The first track on the album, "The Forest Oh!" is a catchy song about getting outside to explore to fight that boredom! Kids will probably love the high-energy song "Punk Rock Skunk."

For a sample of his style, check out his website:

Kid Pan Alley
From "Imagine what it be like to be child writing a song in their classroom with a professional songwriter. And suppose that your song was recorded by a world-class recording artist like Delbert McClinton, Amy Grant, Kix Brooks, Suzie Bogguss, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Lari White, or Raul Malo along with our partners, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra."

Kid Pan Alley is dedicated to "inspiring kids to be creators." Sample this acclaimed album at

Electric Storyland! / The Sippy Cups
Last, but certainly not least, for any parent who appreciates indie-rock, it's time to give The Sippy Cups a listen! Bay-Area based kinder-rock band, The Sippy Cups, brings indie-rock music to families. Influences of the Velvet Underground, The Beatles, and The Ramones are easy to spot as you listen to this must-have album for parents who have tired of the usual fare of folk-based children's music. For more information and samples of their hip tunes for little ears, see and the band's fun website:

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