Monday, July 30, 2007

Even More Children's Music...

There are so many new and interesting children's albums being produced these days. Another online resource for children's music reviews is - a blog from children's librarian, Warren Truitt, of the New York Public Library.

A few more of our favorites include:
Sing Along with Sam / Hullabaloo

This album comes from the two-man band, Hullabaloo, from San Diego. Musicians Steve and Brendan describe Hullabaloo as "farm-fresh, free-range, organic kid-folk in a genre filled with musical Twinkies and Ding-Dongs."

From "A lot of parents raised on rock'n'roll have a hard time down-shifting to singing dinosaurs and hamsters....We're proud to be a part of a growing number of artists that have found a way to honor and entertain kids without making their parents want to jump out of a moving mini-van."

Recommended for kids and parents who enjoy music that is a country-infused blend of folk and rock.

Come and Make a Circle / Susan Salidor
If you attend storytime at the Corvallis Public Library, you've probably already been introduced to a few songs from Susan Salidor's collection. Preschool teachers will especially enjoy her albums. Included are wonderful renditions of preschool favorites (try "Shoofly"), circletime songs ("Come and Make a Circle"), and easy ways to introduce a bilingual theme into your curriculum ("Me llamo Susana"). Tap your toe and follow Susan to a fun-filled experience of music!

Sing with a Child / Program for Early Parent Support (P.E.P.S.)

Another favorite of the youth services librarians at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. This album benefits the Program for Early Parent Support, a non-profit organization based in King County, WA that supports new families. Chris Ballew, lead singer of the band the Presidents of the United States of America, teamed with other talented musicians for the creation of this album. The result is a fantastic mixture of sweet and energetic songs that are perfect for babies, toddlers and their parents and caregivers. Highly recommended!

Spin Your Web / Mary Kaye

Winner of the 2006 Publisher's Weekly Listen-Up Award, the Dr. Toy Smart Play/Smart Toy Product of Excellence, the Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence, the Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Award, NAPPA Honors, and Creative Child Magazine's Product of Excellence Award. Mary Kaye plays a diverse range of country, folk, rock, and funk-inspired tunes. "Let's Get Dressed" and "Pig Party" are sure to be appreciated by kids. This is another suggested album for parents who are bored with the usual fare.

Beethoven's Wig 3 / Richard Perlmutter

"Zany lyrics set to the greatest hits of classical music provide a fun foundation for classical music that will last a lifetime." - from A great way to introduce children to the joy of classical music and facts about many of the world's greatest composers.

Karen Mortimer is the brains and talent behind Karen & Kids, a musical group of talented children hosted by Karen. Karen & Kids offer fun classic toddler music and Christian children's music. I'm Not a Baby Anymore! is a cheerful album full of toddler and preschool favorites such as "Wheels on the Bus" and nursery rhymes. "The Lucy Song" kicks off the album with a fun anthem on moving out of babyhood and on into childhood. For more information, see the Karen & Kids website.

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Led Zeppelin / Michael Armstrong

A fun new offering for parents who love rock music. Rockabye Baby albums turn your favorite rock music into instrumental lullabies for your little ones at home. Lullabies you can hum along to!

For more information and a sampling of the music, visit the Rockabye Baby! website.
Whatever your taste in music, you're certain to find something in the variety of music for kids that will please both you and your children! Music is a great way to start and end each day, transition to new activities, teach concepts, and have fun!

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:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Something Extra With the Book

In the last few years the library has seen more and more children's picture books arriving with a CD. Many of these books feature familiar singers such as Elvis Presley, Naomi Judd, Billy Joel and Pete Seeger. One of my favorite recording artists is John Lithgow reciting and singing Marsupial Sue and Carnival of the Animals. A title not to be overlooked is Yellow Umbrella by Jae Liu. This wordless picture book has wonderful illustrations and lively music. Look for some of these books at your local library.

Bremen Town Musicians

Written and Illustrated by David Johnson

A Chance to Shine

Written by Steve Seskin

Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Creepy Crawly Calypso

Written by Tony Langham

Illustrated by Debbie Harter

Daddy's Girl

Written by Garrison Keillor

Illustrated by Robin Glasser

Dog's Rule

Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk

Everything Grows

Written by Raffi

Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Goodnight My Angel: A Lullaby

Written by Billy Joel

Illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert

Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks

Written by John Bucchino

Illustrated by Anna Liisa Hakkarainen

Guardian Angels

Written by Naomi Judd

Illustrated by Dan Andreasen

Hello, Hello

Written by Dan Zanes

Illustrated by Donald Saaf

Love Me Tender

Written by Elvis Presley

Illustrated by Tom Browning

Marsupial Sue

Written by John Lithgow

Illustrated by Jack Davis

Peter and the Wolf

Composed by Prokofiev

Illustrations by Peter Malone

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Written by Pete Seeger

Illustrated by Wendy Halperin

We All Sing With the Same Voice

Written by Phillip Miller

Illustrated by Paul Meisel

We All Go Traveling By

Written by Sheena Roberts

Illustrated by Siobhan Bell

Yellow Umbrella

Written by Jae Liu

Illustrated by Sandra Speidel

Ten Favorite Children's Books You Can Sing!

Animal Boogie
by Debbie Harter

Cows In the Kitchen
by Jane Crebbin

Today is Monday
by Eric Carle

Seals On the Bus
by Lenny Hort

Little White Duck
by Walt Whippo

There Was an Old Woman
Who Swallowed a Trout
by Teri Sloat

If You're Happy
and You Know It
(Jungle Edition)
by James Warnola

Do Your Ears Hang Low?
by Caroline Church

Big Wolf and Little Wolf
by Sharon Denslow

Big Fat Hen
by Keith Baker

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let's Play with Song!

One of our favorite new picture books to sing and share with children is Let's Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around by Claudia Rueda. This is an adaptation of a traditional French and Latin American song. In this story, animals play in the forest, hoping that they won't encounter the scary wolf! Children will delight in singing the refrain as the pages turn. The animals all continue to play in the forest as they call out, "Wolf, are you there?" The wolf replies that he is getting dressed, combing his hair, and preparing for something. As the rhythmic story progresses, the reader begins to wonder if the wolf is getting ready for what the animals fear most. Luckily, the ending is a nice surprise. The wolf is getting ready for school! A page at the end of the book provides the melody for singing the song...or feel free to make up your own tune!

We've shared this book with numerous children during preschool storytimes and the children just love it. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

July Spotlight: Music Matters!

Music Benefits Your Child For Life

This month at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, the Youth Services Department is highlighting the importance of music for the developing child.

“Clap your hands and follow me….”

Children love music and music is good for childrens’ developing young minds. Through music children learn sounds, detect rhythms, and imagine. When you sing with your young child, you are helping their spatial-temporal reasoning skills, used by architects, engineers, mathematicians, and artists.

Music for the very young is humming, cooing, clapping, banging, listening to sounds around them, and your baby responding to your lyrical voice. Music makes your child feel safe and secure when they hear familiar songs. Children will frequently sing to themselves for comfort. Music provides an opportunity for parents and their children to bond.

As children get older, music is helpful for transitions. The music acts as a cue to what is happening next. Music helps build memory skills with the use of repeating words and makes everyday activities fun and easy. Children love to make up songs. They are thinking creatively. Music encourages a love of language for children and helps them imitate patterns of sounds. Music encourages play! Music is fun! Music benefits a child for life!

Many great books have been published that are great to "sing-aloud" with your child! For a few suggestions, take a look at our Library's Birth to Six website. If you need additional suggestions, don't hesitate to ask the Youth Services Librarians.

Stay tuned for more ideas on using music with young children, great books to share, and our favorite children's albums.