The Weather Outside Is Frightful Though we'd welcome some wintry weather in California, it's beginning to hit the rest of the country. Cozy up to these snowy tales with some hot cocoa and your favorite young child. "Blizzard" by John Rocco; Disney/Hyperion; 36 pages; $17.99. …Read more. Books About Intelligent Animals Emphasize Creatures' Importance Fu Manchu the orangutan is so smart, he outwits zookeepers time and time again. Tsaki the donkey turns his working-animal status into beloved family member, while GQ the quail is curious and venturing. Kids love reading about intriguing animals; the …Read more. Boy-Friendly Books for Reluctant Readers Often, boys aren't as enthusiastic readers as girls. Happily, there's a popular chapter book niche addressing that issue with humor and excitement. These new books are fun, mischievous, gadget-filled tales of adventure for kids who would rather play …Read more. Amazing Animal Tales This batch of animal stories — some fiction, some true — introduces real squirrels, weird frogs, birds that teach music and toy rats that attack. "The Secret Life of Squirrels" by Nancy Rose; Little, Brown and Co.; 32 pages; $17. Mr. …Read more.more articles
Incredible New Music for Kids
Historically, music meant for children has not had the coolest of reputations. That has certainly changed in the last few years, with some of rock's top musicians dedicating their talents to CDs aimed at young audiences. Here are some of the latest and greatest ways to zest up your car ride. Prices vary according to retail outlet, but most range from $9.99 to $14.99.
"Kids" by Keller Williams; KW Enterprises.
Talented multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams has lent his vastly amazing sounds to concerts everywhere. In his 16th CD, he plays bluegrass and innovative guitar. He also uses the influences of Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin and plays them at warp speed. Known as a popular musician who can't possibly be "boxed" into one category, Williams' high musical standards make "Kids" a superb CD for all ages.
With songs titled "Hulahoop To Da Loop," "Soakie Von Soakerman" and "My Neighbor is Happy Again," "Kids" is unique and joyful. For more information, visit www.kellerwilliams.net.
"Bayou Boogie" by Buckwheat Zydeco; Music for Little People.
Music for Little People — an award-winning independent children's music label — celebrates its 25th anniversary with the early November release of Buckwheat Zydeco's "Bayou Boogie." Not many music forms are as perfectly adapted to family fun as Zydeco, with its' rocking organs, smoking accordions and "yee ha!" down-home zip.
Heavy on "get up and dance" tunes, this Creole gumbo mix is designed to introduce children to a party at Buck's place on the bayou, with good time boogie classics like "Barefootin'' and "Walking the Dog." Buck's own "The Mice Ate My Rice" and "Ripsy Dipsy" prove that Buck, aka Stanley Dural, pulls out all the stops to ensure young listeners have a rootsy-good time.
"Sunny Day" by Elizabeth Mitchell; Smithsonian Folkways.
Elizabeth Mitchell's gentle, soothing voice has a reassuring manner that instantly brings peace, love and wonder to any space.
Keeping the project all in the family, Elizabeth's husband and 9-year-old daughter also contribute with talent and joy. Songs cover reggae, folk, and even a surprising ditty from a musician named Moondog who once had a duet with Julie Andrews. A 28-page booklet is full of awe-inspiring details.
"Wake Up Clarinet!" by Oran Etkin's Tibalooloo.
Tibalooloo is a unique new method of enriching children's innate musicality and overall development as thought up by New York City musician composer Oran Etkin. Etkin has taught over 600 children, who thrive on his innovative playful methods.
Etkins' CD presents all the elements of music he believes young children relate to — with high and low concepts as well as chords and melodies. He makes sure to play tunes that are spontaneous, energetic and full of life. The enhanced CD can also be played on the computer to show a bonus video of a live performance with Clara Net and Big Mama Tuba. Ready to embark on a musical adventure? Visit www.tibalooloo.com or oranetkin.com for more games, activities and information.
More super-worthy new family CDs:
"Use Your Words" from Jeremy Plays Guitar; Jim Cosgrove's "Swimming in Noodles"; "The Best Candy in the Whole World and Other Stories" by Bill Harley; "What Are the Odds?" from Monkey Monkey Music, with Meredith LeVande; "The New Explorers Club" by the Flannery Brothers; "This is Fun" from the wacky but fabulous Caspar Babypants.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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