KID'S REVIEWS
By Lyda Whiting

 

 

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,
AN ALBUM OF CLASSICAL LULLABIES
Performed by Eric and Susan Davis; various composers
This wonderful instrumental CD is sure to become a favorite with children and adults alike. The warm and intimate music is perfect for children’s bed and nap times, and excellent for adult relaxation any time. The album is also an excellent introduction to classical music.

The unusual combination of violin and acoustic guitar creates a soothing gentle atmosphere as the instruments blend together beautifully. Although the pieces were originally composed for pianos or ensembles, the performer’s original arrangements are refreshingly unique. No other instruments or vocals appear on the album.

The classical songs were specifically written for children by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Grieg and Mendelssohn, as well as the lesser-known composers, Edward Jakobowski, Manuel de Falla and Carl Maria von Weber. There are also two modern classic lullabies: George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from the modern opera “Porgy and Bess”, and Robert Sherman’s “Hushabye Mountain” from stage and screen musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

The musicians did in-depth research to find music composed with children in mind. They are music educators as well as performers: Susan Davis teaches string quartets, orchestra, and folk music to high school students, and Eric Davis taught elementary school children to play stringed instruments. Both have Master’s degrees in music and have performed extensively in the United States and abroad.
Although the cover features a silly cartoon of a moon and a cow playing music together, this album takes the music seriously, and thus is a departure from most children’s albums. These are lullabies children will enjoy at any age, and parents will like just as much.

Highly recommended for children and adults of every age.

Published by Verdict Records for ChildMusicOnline.com, this CD is available at your local music and bookstores.



RILEY THE RHINOCEROS
Written by Patricia Derrick; Illustrations and Music by J-P Loppo Martinez
Riley the Rhinoceros is the jungle bus, and he is happy to help the baby animals find their way home. But he can’t give rides to everyone. Riley explains to the giraffe and jungle cats that he is not THEIR bus. When Eleanor the elephant comes along, Riley could really be in trouble. An elephant getting a ride from a rhinoceros — now that would be preposterous!

Children will giggle at the silly illustrations, as they enjoy the rhyming text and learn new words. A five-minute original music CD puts the story to music, and will have kids singing and dancing along. Children will have fun imagining other animals that should not get a ride from Riley, and drawing their own silly pictures of the results.

The author is an early childhood and Montessori educator who designed these books for language development through reading and music. Multi-syllable words are divided into syllables on the pages, making them easier for early readers to sound out. The rhyming and phonics, both crucial elements of language development, will help children to develop critical language skills.
But children will not notice that they are learning as they read and sing along to the simple story. They will be too busy giggling at the silly illustrations and dancing to the lively tune.
For children ages 2-8.

Published by Animalations, this book is available at your local bookstore.



SLY THE DRAGONFLY
Written by Patricia Derrick; Illustrations and Music by J-P Loppo Martinez
Sly the dragonfly likes to fly really high, so he almost touches the sky. The other dragonflies do not understand why; they fly low to the ground and sit passively on leaves and discarded cans. When Sly shows them the beauty and fun waiting high up in the air, they discover that life has been passing them by. Soon they too are flying high.

Children will love reading the story and enjoy the fun illustrations. They will also enjoy singing along with the five-minute original music CD, and swooping and soaring like the dragonflies.
Part of a series of interactive children’s books written by a teacher, this book and CD offer children a valuable lesson in living life instead of sitting on the sidelines. The kids will also enjoy acting out the story, and even making their own costumes of colorful dragonfly wings and antennae from construction paper and pipe cleaners.

For children ages 2-8.

Published by Animalations, this book is available at your local bookstore.



RATHBONE THE RAT
Written by Patricia Derrick and Shirley O’Neil; Illustrations and Music by J-P Loppo Martinez
Rathbone the rat is a food thief, stealing cheese from the grocery store and the entire feast at a fancy restaurant. The people are so upset and hungry that Rathbone feels awful and decides to make it up to them. He gets some of his friends to help, and they collect food from all over town; for once, Rathbone asks for the food instead of just taking it. The people sit down to a wonderful meal, and Rathbone is redeemed. But as he scurries away, he is already plotting where to steal his next meal.

Children will laugh at the terrible actions of this food thief, and sing and dance along to the five-minute original music CD. The illustrations show wonderful scenes of Paris, from the subway to the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe. Although Rathbone is still a scavenger, the lesson that one’s actions affect others will come across and spark discussions of right and wrong.

For children ages 2-8.

Published by Animalations, this book is available at your local bookstore.



MONTGOMERY THE MOOSE CAN SHAKE HIS CABOOSE
Written by Patricia Derrick and Joyce Sibbett; Illustrations and Music by J-P Loppo Martinez
Montgomery the moose loves to dance. At first his friends laugh; who ever heard of a dancing moose? But Montgomery practices his moves every night anyway. He tries ballroom dancing, dressed in a tuxedo of course. Then he dances to a Jamaican beat in a tropical-print shirt. He tries out being a rock star dressed in a black jacket and of course blue suede shoes. Finally he is ready to put on a show for his friends, doing a bit of jamming to a hip beat and then trying out some country-western moves. His friends are amazed at his skill and want to dance too. But when Montgomery tries to teach them to shake their cabooses, the results are hilarious.

Kids will laugh at Montgomery’s crazy antics and have fun finding out what instruments his friends are playing on each page. They will giggle as they dance along with Montgomery to the different music styles on the five-minute original music CD.

A lively entry in this series of educational and fun books may have your child ready to put on their own dance show.

For children ages 2-8.

Published by Animalations, this book is available at your local bookstore.


Return to the September/October Index page