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Product Type: Audio
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2010 Award
Ranky Tanky
(Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Mayhem Music $16.95 Score:)

There's a joyful mix of music here. You'll be tappin' you feet and laughing out loud. There's Dixieland, folk tunes, old pop music (like Bushel and a Peck, Purple People Eater, and Where Did You Get That Hat?) and some brand new originals. It's all played with an upbeat that makes you want to smile. You'll hear fiddles, ukes, banjos, harmonium, kazooz, trumpets, tuba, trombone, clarinet and oh yes, a balloon and veggie baster. Really. This is one for the whole family.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Elizabeth Mitchell: Sunny Day
(Elizabeth Mitchell, Smithsonian Folkways $12 Score:)

From start to finish this collection of music has quality, variety and good taste. Unlike so many CD's for kids, there are no cutsie lyrics that only half rhyme or music that sounds like a soundtrack for an elevator. This really is music that will make your day a little sunnier,  even if the clouds have gathered. The music is made with a great variety of instruments from harmonicas, guitar, drums, banjo, clarinet, recorders, violins, auto harp, glockenspiel, mandolin, and wonderful voices that you'll want to sing along with as you come to know these pleasing selections. All ages.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Wake Up Clarinet!
(Oran Etkin, Timbalooloo $16.98 Score:)

Well known jazz clarinetist Oran Etkin introduces his own "Timbalooloo" method for get young children involved in moving and responding to the music. This is not just a sit there and watch kind of CD, it has tracks that will also play as a DVD. The music is original and anything but the usual kiddie fare. For parents who especially like jazz, this is a good place to start with younger listeners. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
The Night Before Christmas
(by Clement C. Moore/ illus. Eric Puybaret, Music a, Charlesbridge $19.95 Score:)

An oversized picture book with stylized fresh images of this classic holiday poem. Puybaret's Santa has a waxed mustachio and a very long cap. His white reindeer have a rather unusual look and each setting has small details for children to delight in. Best of all, the second track of the CD has a reading of the poem done by Mary Travers in her last recording session. Her voice is weak and sometimes the background music overwhelms the narration, but those who loved her will find her reading as moving as so many as her songs always were. Also on the CD, A'Soalin ("Hey ho, nobody home, meat nor drink nor money have I none Yet shall we be merry") from a 1963 recording plus a musical version of The Night Before Christmas--sorry, but the latter is not as wonderful as Mary Travers' reading.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed the Sea
(by Clement C. Moore/ illus. Eric Puybaret, Childs Play $7.99 Score:)

Adapted from the familiar folksong, There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Here, the habitat is changed to the seaside and the bold cheerful illustrations go hand in hand with a lively rendition sung on the CD. Kids can follow along with the words and follow the circular cutaways as they sing the refrain or just sing along from memory. There are two versions on the CD; one is a sing-along the other is karaoke.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Chicken Licken, book & CD
(illus. by Francesca Assirelli, Child's Play $7.99 Score:)

A charming paperback of a classic tale with lift the flaps and a CD with word-for-word text. For beginning readers, this is a good way to reinforce vocabulary and eye sweep. Lifting the flaps just adds to the fun. For preschoolers the story will be enjoyed for pure listening pleasure. The narrator uses multiple voices as he plays the many characters on the way to tell the king that the sky is falling. And, yes that fox keeps popping up in the oddest places.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010.

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2010 Award
The Silly Book & CD
(by Stoo Hample, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

This CD and book would have been a lot better if the CD followed the sequence of the book so that young readers could follow along. Instead it starts with a poem/song that is in the back portion of the book and then hops around. Perhaps the artist wanted the reader/listener to do each of these activities separately-- enjoy reading or listening. The songs and poems are as promised in the title totally silly. Some are funnier than others. Good--not great.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
The Complete Adventures of Curious George 70th Anniversary edition & CD
(by Margret and H.A. Rey, narrated by various reade, Houghton Mifflin $29.99 Score:)

This anthology includes seven Curious George stories in one big book. The art is as it always was and so is the text. The only question is will you like holding this hefty book in your lap when sharing it with young children? Just in case you would rather not, the publisher has taken recordings of all the stories and put them on two CD's that are tucked inside the front and back cover. So, this is a collection kids can enjoy with an adult or on their own.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Earthworm Ensemble
(Western Seed Records $14.95 Score:)

Just in time for Earth Day, this CD has an entirely fresh sound that ranges from wistful to witty and all together pleasing. The album combines a rich potpourri of styles played on mandolin, rocking guitars, fiddles, steel guitar, accordion, sax, bass and drum grooves along with outstanding vocal harmonies. Musicians from the well-known band, I See Hawk in L.A. along with talented vocalists such as two Chapin sisters (Tom's daughters). bluegrass singer, Christina Ortega and country rapper Zachariah, among others. You will love the sound effects on the Traveling Train, the deep down humor of That's What the Earthworms Are For and Bang a Drum is sure to make a hit in all senses of the words. This is one for the whole family.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Mr. Popper's Penguins Audio
(by Richard and Florence Atwater, read by Nick Sull, Hachette $13.98 Score:)

Always a favorite, this jolly storybook classic is performed with delightful verve by Nick Sullivan. In the best tradition of storytelling he uses many voices to bring each of the characters to life. Mr. Popper has always dreamed of being an explorer and visiting the Antarctic. Although he cannot do that and care for his family he writes to Admiral Drake, who send Mr. Popper a gift--a penguin who changes his life! An old fashioned fantasy that has tickled generations of children since it first appeared in 1938, it has lost none of its charm. Bring home a paperback so that chapter readers can reread the story on their own.
A two disk set that runs about 2 hours. A good choice for a long drive. Unlike so many CD's this one has a crisp and lively sound and some piano music sequences that add to the pace and pleasure.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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